EU Law on Business and Human Rights

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at
- Analyzing the European and international legal framework on business and human rights;
- Analyzing the relevant European, international and domestic case law;
- Examining access to remedies in B&HR cases in the US and the EU;
- Examining the relevant European framework on private international law;
- Applying the examined legal tools to the solution of case studies;
- Developing critical analysis of B&HR-connected legal issues.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course, students should:
- Have a deep knowledge of the legal framework on EU Law on Business and Human Rights
- Be able to make autonomous evaluation of B&HR-connected legal issues
- Have developed the skills to apply the acquired knowledge to practical cases, disputes, corporate strategies, decision-making processes
- Have developed the related problem-solving skills
- Have acquired communication skills (written and oral), including to argue convincingly, with logical and legal thoroughness and propriety of language.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Transnational business activities can have an impact on the enjoyment of the entire spectrum of the internationally recognized human rights. Corporate violations of the rights to health and life, the core labour standards, and the rights of minorities, including indigenous peoples, have led to important legal disputes. These cases demonstrate the need to strike a balance between economic development on the one hand, and the implementation of sustainable development and the protection of the most fundamental human and labour rights and the environment, on the other hand. Given the complex structure of multinational enterprises, and their capacity to take advantage of the domestic legal and jurisdictional loopholes, the international legal framework is worthy of consideration in order to understand how business activities should be conducted. Since many multinational enterprises have their home corporations incorporated under the law of European countries, the European legal framework plays a crucial role in identifying the applicable rules and the available remedies for victims.

Detailed programme
- The international legal framework on business and human rights (B&HR)
- The State duty to protect human rights, with a focus on the European Convention on Human Rights
- Corporate responsibility to respect human rights and human rights due diligence
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and codes of conduct
- The EU legal framework on CSR and B&HR
- Access to remedies: the EU and US perspectives
- The attribution of jurisdiction and the applicable law in B&HR cases: private international law issues
- The ongoing negotiation of a binding treaty on B&HR.
Prerequisites for admission
A good knowledge of international law is recommended.
Teaching methods
This course aims at giving students the skills to develop professional careers in the field of business and human rights, with a specific European and international legal background. In order to stimulate students' active participation and problem-solving skills, the course (42 hours/year) includes lectures, mock trials (i.e. the simulation of legal proceedings), and case studies.
Class attendance (70%) is compulsory. The working language is English.
Teaching Resources
A list of suggested and mandatory readings and the didactic material are uploaded on the web-page of the course, on the e-learning platform ARIEL. The detailed course programme is provided at the beginning of the course.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students are evaluated through partial exams taken during the course (case-studies, mock trials, written test, work-in-team and individual presentations). The final mark consists of the average of the marks obtained in the partial exams.
IUS/13 - INTERNATIONAL LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Bonfanti Angelica
Tuesday from 15 to 17
Department of Italian and Supranational Public Law - because of coronavirus emergency, office hours are online- please contact Prof. Bonfanti by email