• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Development Studies, Law, International Business, Business Administration More...
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Jolyon Ford
  • Mode of delivery Online
  • Offered in Winter Session 2019
    See Future Offerings

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

Delivered online, 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. Framed by an understanding of the position in public international law, the course turns mainly on the significance of the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, while addressing the range of regulatory options.

From law suits for alleged corporate complicity in apartheid and other grave crimes, to examples of voluntary business leadership on addressing human trafficking, this course combines a commitment to objectivity and conceptual clarity with an emphasis on robust and informed student exchange. Approaching from a legal and regulatory perspective, the course addresses complex, controversial issues such as allegations of rights abuse in global food or manufacturing supply-chains; how global telecoms companies manage customer service in repressive states; and extractive industry stakeholder relations in conflict-affected regions. Through 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.

The course is of relevance to policymakers, regulators, corporate and financial executives, those in civil society, the media, and the legal profession. Any contemporary study of international relations or international law is incomplete without going beyond states to consider the influence of transnational business and investment actors. Likewise, the private sector operates in a public world so that business scholars must factor in the increasing salience of corporate responsibility and accountability issues. Meanwhile, governmental actors are not the only source of human rights promotion: what positive role exists for the private sector?
 
The course emphasises transnational commercial networks and regulatory responses, but makes some reference to Australian scenarios. Through moderated discussions 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 could or should exist? Should we pursue a binding treaty in this field, how likely is this, and what would it include? What particular responsibilities accompany investment decisions in repressive or conflict-affected states?
 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain, distinguish and apply, to an advanced standard, the terms, theories and concepts, global frameworks and major recent debates in the field of business and human rights;
  2. Explore, analyse and synthesise complex theoretical positions and propositions at an abstract level using cognitive, technical and creative skills, and apply these to practical, ‘real-world’ scenarios, in contexts relating to business and human rights;
  3. Identify and apply relevant research, problem-solving and argumentation skills appropriate to addressing controversies and complexities arising in the field of business and human rights, including through participation in moderated group discussion forums and completion of succinct and accurate written work.
  4. Communicate theoretical and practical knowledge about how course concepts relate to their other professional or academic work, and show an advanced ability to reflect critically on this process;
  5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to independently plan and produce a substantial research project in the field of business and human rights, analysing and critiquing issues covered in the course.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Assessment for this course will likely consist of: (null) [LO null]
  2. 65% from a research project of 4,500-5,000 words; and (65) [LO null]
  3. 35% from an online quiz (10%), a short advice (10%), and participation in online discussions (15%). (35) [LO null]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Workload

This is a 6-unit, fully-online Masters course with an equivalent full-time load for students of about 10-12 hours per week over 10 weeks. This comprises approximately 26 hours of teaching interaction over this 10-week period, through online formats and forums. In addition, students are required to commit to a post-graduate level and quantity of individual reading (available online and as provided in the course outline) and occasional online individual listening (referred podcasts). Students are required to engage consistently online, including through discussion forums, throughout the duration of the course.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws specialising in International Law (7300XSINTL), Master of Laws specialising in Law, Governance and Development (7300SLGD), Master of Laws specialising in Environmental Law (7300SEVNL), Master of Laws specialising in Government and Commercial Law (7300SGCL), Master of Laws specialising in International Security Law (7300SISL), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312XLLMLP), Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883SINTL), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Juris Doctor - online (MJDOL) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law & International Law B. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed textbook.

Preliminary Reading

Deva, S., and Bilchitz, D., (eds) Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect? (Cambridge University Press, 2013);
Ford, J., ‘Business and Human Rights: emerging challenges to consensus and coherence?’  Briefing Paper, Chatham House, February 2015;
Ford, J., ‘Business and Human Rights: bridging the governance gap’ Research Paper, Chatham House, September 2015;
IHRB, ‘State of Play: Human Rights in the Political Economy of States’ (Institute for Human Rights and Business, London, 2014);
Lagoutte, S., 'The State duty to protect against business-related human rights abuses — unpacking pillar 1 and 3 of the UN Guiding Principles’ (Danish Institute for Human Rights, 2014);
Mares, R., (ed.), The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Foundations and Implementation (Martinus Nijhoff, Leiden, 2012);
Nolan, J., ‘Refining the Rules of the Game: the corporate responsibility to respect human rights’ (2014) 30(78) Utrecht Journal of International and European Law 7;
O’Brien, C., Human rights and Transnational Corporations: a multi-level governance approach, (European University Institute, Florence, 2009);
Ruggie, J., Just Business: Multinational Corporations and Human Rights (Norton, New York, 2013);
UK Government, Good Business: implementing the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (London, 2013);
UN ‘Roles and Responsibilities of Interested States’, OHCHR Working Paper 2 (Geneva, April 2015);
Zerk, J., ‘Corporate Liability for gross human rights abuses’ (OHCHR, Geneva, 2014).

Areas of Interest

  • Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability
  • Development Studies
  • Law
  • International Business
  • Business Administration
  • Human Rights

Fees

Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
3
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6711 27 Jul 2019 02 Aug 2019 02 Aug 2019 15 Aug 2019 Online N/A

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