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This course aims to provide an advanced understanding of how law and regulation relate to current debates about corporate responsibility and the intersection of business with human rights. What would constitute an ideal regulatory and remedial framework on the human rights impacts of business activity? What legal, commercial, political or social forces and factors shape these issues in practice?

Delivered both online and with 2 days of face-to-face teaching, this course analyses the source, nature, content and practical significance of legal, regulatory, self-regulatory and other frameworks governing the ways in which business actors and activities might affect human rights.

This course addresses complex issues such as attempts to establish a legal basis for arguing corporations must respect human rights; alleged corporate complicity in forced labour in the construction or fishing industries, supply chain regulation in the manufacturing industry; and the obligation of technology companies to respect free speech. With a focus on practical case studies students will be exploring the nexus of two of the most profound social and regulatory phenomena of our time: economic globalisation, and the international human rights narrative.

Through moderated discussions both online and in the classroom and with occasional guest expert input, students navigate some key issues. How can business activity affect the enjoyment of human rights? How effective are existing regulatory responses, and what undermines these? What is the role for business self-regulation, and what is the state's duty to control the social impacts of a business operating abroad? What avenues of remedy exist or should exist? Is a binding international treaty needed? How do companies operate in conflict zones?

The course is of relevance to policymakers, regulators, corporate and financial executives, those in civil society, the media, and the legal profession.

Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 2



Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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