• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law, Human Rights
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This seminar course is designed to help students understand the human rights standards and responsibilities – legal and moral - that affect business and the remedies available to human rights advocates seeking to influence corporate policies and practices. It also encourages participants to consider how human rights can guide corporate decision-making by exploring current best practices among corporate human rights initiatives.

The phenomena of globalisation and human rights are two of the most influential features of international relations in the twenty-first century. This course will examine      the ways in which these two spheres intersect and diverge, interrogating the extent to which their goals are contradictory and/ or mutually supporting.  

Awareness of the increasing power of transnational corporation’s vis-à-vis the States in which they operate as well as the impact that business can have on human rights – positive and negative – is raising the volume on calls for businesses to respect human rights. Human rights advocates have shined a spotlight on human rights conditions in a wide range of transnational industries including oil and mining; the manufacturing of apparel, carpets, footwear, sporting goods, and toys; the agricultural production of coffee, tea, cocoa and bananas for global markets; and the pharmaceutical and other high technology sectors.

The abuses at issue include complicity with governments that violate human rights, child and forced labour, limits on freedom of association, and dangerous and unhealthy conditions for workers and communities. During the same period, business and human rights has emerged as a distinct field within the broader corporate responsibility movement. In response to growing pressure to address human rights issues, transnational companies have undertaken human rights initiatives that seek to manage human rights risks, and in some cases, promote human rights as a source of competitive advantage in the marketplace. This seminar analyses the challenges and opportunities that arise for advocates and business managers at the intersection of business operations and efforts to promote international human rights.

Business and human rights is a constantly evolving field. Accordingly, students are encouraged to follow recent and emerging developments in the field at the resources provided in the reading guide.


Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain, distinguish and apply, to a Masters level standard, the terms, theories and concepts, global frameworks and major recent events and debates relating to the field of business and human rights;

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research essay (6,000-7,000 words) (70) [LO 1]
  2. Online Quizzes and Participation Assessment (30) [LO 1]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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.


Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours. Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable.

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 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 Legal Practice (MLEGP) Master of International Law and Diplomacy (MINLD); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Master of Military Law (MMILL) 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

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

Preliminary Reading

An e-brick will be available on the Wattle course site.


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:
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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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