Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


There is considerable controversy surrounding the impact of large transnational corporations on efforts to promote protection of human rights around the world.

This course uses the recently established UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as an entry point to an advanced analysis of the relationship between corporations and international human rights. The Guiding Principles elaborate the responsibilities of corporations as well as states in upholding human rights and emphasise the importance of ensuring that those who are affected by business-related human rights abuse have access to effective remedy. The Principles envision a broad range of mechanisms by which such remedy may be provided, including judicial mechanisms ('hard' law); state-based non-judicial mechanisms ('soft' law); and non-state-based non-judicial mechanisms (sometimes referred to as 'networked governance'). The course will provide specialised knowledge of the impact of these various mechanisms on the relationship between global corporations and human rights.


Not currently offered.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of different theoretical perspectives on the influence of global corporations on respect for human rights and the appropriateness of various hard and soft law mechanisms for addressing that influence.

2. Demonstrate understanding of recent developments in this field associated with the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by both state and non-state actors.

3. Critically analyse and evaluate efforts by states to require corporations to respect human rights through both judicial and state-based non-judicial mechanisms.

4. Critically analyse and evaluate efforts by corporations to implement human rights obligations, including through participation in non-state non-judicial mechanisms, such as multi-stakeholder initiatives.

5. Undertake specialised research into the impact of one or more global corporations on respect for human rights and on the appropriateness and/or effectiveness of efforts to regulate such impact.

6. Apply specialised knowledge of business-related human rights grievance mechanisms to draft a submission to such a grievance mechanism regarding a particular allegation of human rights abuse (either on behalf of a corporation, an affected community, or non-government organisation).


Topics in this course include:

  1. Theoretical debates regarding the relationship between Globalisation and Human Rights and the role of Global Corporations in that relationship, including debates about corporate regulation and about the power of global corporations to influence/capture both domestic and international regulatory regimes.
  2. Debates as to whether and, if so, how " international law may directly regulate the operations of global corporations, including debates about the possibility of a legally binding treaty regarding corporations and human rights.
  3. The UN Guiding Principles and the role and responsibilities of states, including case studies of government responses to the UN Guiding Principles.
  4. The role and responsibilities of global corporations in light of the UN Guiding Principles.
  5. Case studies of hard law and soft law regulatory/governance regimes established by states which purport to enact the Guiding Principles.
  6. Case studies of "networked governance" regimes (e.g. multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Ethical Trading Initiative) which purport to enact the Guiding Principles.
  7. Review of the performance the Guiding Principles and consideration of their future development.


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice or Master of Laws programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6001, LAWS6002A, LAWS6002B, LAWS6003A, LAWS6003B, LAWS6004A, LAWS6004B, LAWS6005, LAWS6013 or LAWS6019.

Assessment items

Participation: Class Participation

Essay: Research Essay

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Drafting exercise