EU Law on Business and Human Rights

A.Y. 2020/2021
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
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester

Classes of the courses offered by the LM in Sustainable Development will be delivered in distance learning modality. They will be live-streamed on Microsoft Teams, following the lessons timetable. All classes will be recorded and will be available on the online platform until the end of the semester.

Students will be informed as soon as possible, through the ARIEL website of the Course, if there will be a possibility to attend in person some classes at the University premises. This possibility will depend upon the evolution of the emergency and related safety measures, and the needs and preferences of students. In this case, students willing to attend classes will be required to reserve their seat through the LezioniUnimi app ( Home > study > bachelor-and-master-study > following-your-programme-of-study >. Strict compliance with the COVID protocol (facemask-wearing, social distancing, hands disinfection, etc ) will be required in the classrooms and all the University premises. In any case, all classes will be live-streamed and recorded and will be available on the online platform, in order to meet the needs of those unable or unwilling to attend in person.

The course will alternate and combine lectures and seminar teaching and will be tailored to match the learning necessities of students attending physically and remotely alike. Classes may require prior readings and include pre-recorded components.

To cope with possible connection and/or time zone issues, simultaneous course attendance (i.e. connection on the platform at the scheduled time) will not be mandatory. However, the Course will be based on class interaction. Therefore, students are strongly advised to strive to be able to attend the online classes.

The course programme is unchanged. However, the specific contents of classes will adapt to the teaching methods outlined above.

Reference materials for each class will be adjusted to the distance learning modality and uploaded to the Ariel course website.


Assessment methods will not change, except that oral and written exam may take place by remote through distance learning platforms (Microsoft Teams for oral exams and for written exams). Instructions will be posted on the ARIEL website of the course.
In case the possibility of exams in persons will be reinstated at the material time, students unable to be physically present will be offered an alternative method from distance.
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. Practitioners and experts will be invited as speakers and will give insights about their professional experience in the field.
Class attendance (70%) is compulsory. The working language is English.
Specific readings and didactic materials, as well as PPT about the single classes, will be uploaded on ARIEL.
Teaching Resources
Angelica Bonfanti (ed.), Business and Human Rights in Europe. International Law Challenges (Routledge 2019).

Further readings and didactic material are uploaded on the ARIEL web-page of the course. The detailed syllabus is provided at the beginning of the course.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students are evaluated either through partial assessments taken during the course (case-studies, mock trials, written test, work-in-team and individual presentations; the final mark in this case consists of the average of the marks obtained) or through an overall final oral exam.
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