Business and Human Rights
This module considers how business increasingly conducts its operations with responsibility to its stakeholders and to society at large. It examines the emergence of the business and human rights regime, which forms the basis for addressing both legal developments and voluntary initiatives across a spectrum of business and industry sectors and different types of business operating both globally and locally.
The module content is diverse and wide-ranging, and draws on case studies in order to foster knowledge about the impacts of business on human rights protection. It considers key issues in the current business and human rights regime, including states' obligation to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, human rights due diligence and access to remedy for human rights violations by business. It also addresses new legislation, such as the proposed EU directive on mandatory due diligence and responses from businesses and civil society.
Economic and Social Rights
This module begins with a consideration of the historical origins and philosophical underpinnings of economic and social rights (ESR). Key themes that will be developed throughout the course include perceptions of the nature of such rights and the related question of the extent to which such rights are, and should be, justiciable.
You will evaluate the different ways in which ESR are protected and implemented, both domestically and internationally. The module will consider litigation and judicial enforcement of ESR in various jurisdictions.
The module will equip you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to engage in, and critically analyse, the debates surrounding ESR that exist both amongst legal commentators and at a broader societal level.
International Aspects of Corporate Law and Insolvency
Since the global financial crisis of 2008, corporate rescue and insolvency has been at the forefront of policy making and reform around the world. Using real-world events, this module links theory to practice and covers the following:
- Introduction to company law, insolvency and global business operations
- Effective business forms for global operations: group structures and organisational patterns
- Companies crossing borders: doing business abroad
- Harmonisation of company laws and supranational business forms
- Regulating enterprise groups - a comparative and international perspective
- The quest for harmonisation and uniformity in insolvency
- The European Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings
- The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency: a global solution for international insolvencies
- Insolvency of multinational enterprise groups
The module is also run in conjunction with the University of Nottingham Commercial Law Centre who organise a range of engagement seminars which include representatives from the UK Government and the World Bank.
International Commercial Arbitration
This module offers the fundamentals of international commercial arbitration, the most important dispute resolution mechanism for international business transactions.
The module begins with the legal framework of international commercial arbitration. It then deals with jurisdiction of arbitration tribunals and certain procedural issues arising in arbitration practice. The module ends with the setting aside and recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.
The module focuses mainly on English law of arbitration which is put in comparative perspective and compared and contrasted especially with the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.
International Human Rights Law
This module will introduce you to the law and practice related to international human rights. You will be encouraged to explore the foundations of international human rights law. The global, regional and national mechanisms of human rights protection will be introduced and evaluated.
A selection of substantive human rights will be examined and contemporary challenges to human rights protection will be discussed.
International Investment Law
This module deals with key aspects of the international system for the regulation of foreign investment. The module focuses mainly on issues arising from investor-host state relations under Bilateral Investment Treaties or BITs but also touches upon international investment contracts. Special attention will be given to the means of regulating investment using BITs, including standards of treatment, such as fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, national treatment and MFN, and breaches thereof, the taking of foreign property and the settlement of investment disputes by means of third party dispute settlement.
Attention will focus on the substantial and procedural aspects of international investment arbitration with specific reference to ICSID, as well as ad hoc arbitration, using UNCITRAL arbitration rules or the rules of other relevant arbitral fora.
International Law of the Sea
International law of the sea regulates the order of the oceans. It is one of the oldest branches of public international law and one of the most dynamic areas of law.
Topics cover: maritime boundary disputes and delimitation, exploration of hydrocarbons in contested waters, the use of marine genetic resources from maritime spaces beyond national jurisdiction, maritime terrorism, and the protection of human lives at sea.
Law, Development and the International Community
This module examines some of the relationships between law and development. After examining both the notion of development per se and the right to development as a human right, the module moves on to cover a number of individual issues where the relationship between law, development and human rights can be explored.
Subjects covered include:
- the concept of development and the role of international law in promoting "development"
- the regulation of aid
- the WTO and developing countries
- intellectual property and access to medication
- the protection of traditional knowledge
- food aid and food security
- sustainable development
- gender and development
Minorities and International Human Rights Law
The module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the application of international law standards to minorities and indigenous peoples. There is a strong focus on the decisions of international and European courts and international human rights bodies.
Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and Criminal Justice
A broadly-based introduction to the philosophical foundations of human rights and criminal justice, emphasising the moral and political underpinnings of legal rules, doctrines and principles.
The module first tackles perennial conceptual and methodological issues relating to the nature of "philosophical" inquiry and the challenges of scepticism. Thereafter, the model reconsiders key issues and questions in contemporary debates surrounding human rights and criminal justice through the contrasting lenses of two rival philosophical perspectives, utilitarianism and liberal deontology.
Principles of Public International Law
The module is primarily concerned with those customary and treaty rules governing relations between States. This module aims to give candidates a thorough grounding in the principles of PIL. The basic topics include:
- nature of international law
- actors in the international legal system
- jurisdiction and state responsibility
Public Procurement Law
This module examines issues relating to the regulation of public procurement from perspectives other than trade liberalisation. Issues covered include:
- the pursuit of value for money through competition
- avoidance of corruption
- procurement for privately-financed infrastructure projects
The module pays particular attention to the UNCITRAL Model Law on procurement and the procurement rules for developing countries' projects financed by the World Bank.
United Nations Law
This module examines the international institutional law and general international law governing the United Nations, including the central organs (for example the Security Council and General Assembly), subsidiary organs (such as the UNEP and the UNDP), and the specialised agencies (for example, the WHO, UNESCO, ICAO).
- the UN's constitutional basis
- its legal personality and powers
- membership and budgetary matters
- representation and decision making
- sanctions regimes
- the UN's military options
- issues of responsibility, accountability and immunities
- the UN's contribution to the development and enforcement of international law
The World Trading System
This module deals with key aspects of World Trade Organisation law. The module focuses on:
- the institutional and organisational structure of the WTO and its dispute settlement system
- GATT 1994 (dealing with tariffs and other barriers to import of goods)
- GATS (the agreement regulating international trade in services)
- rules on unfair trade such as anti-dumping, subsidies and safeguards
Some attention is paid to the relationship between multilateral and regional and preferential trade and the relationship of trade to sustainable development, as well as consumer health and safety.