University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2021

Course Description
Human rights advocates and governments have increasingly focused on corporate accountability for human rights impacts. Corporations that have touted excellent corporate social responsibility records have been accused of complicity with corrupt governments by engaging in a wide range of misdeeds including: infringing free speech rights; utilizing child and forced labor; limiting freedom of association; destroying the environment; ignoring the will of indigenous peoples; and perpetuating unreasonably dangerous conditions for workers. In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed a corporate responsibility to respect human rights. Nonetheless, there are currently no binding international laws or treaties related to business and human rights. In the absence of legal obligations, what is the role of the corporation vis a vis the state regarding human rights?
This course analyzes the issues faced by human rights advocates, governments, stakeholders, institutional investors, and transnational corporations as they attempt to balance the needs of business with those of the larger community around them. We will look at human rights issues in supply chains, megasporting events, fashion, technology, the extractive industries, and financial institutions. Class assignments will include simulations, role playing, debates, policy statements, and press releases. The final exam will consist of a paper. Students may choose to draft legislation, policy papers, a complaint against a company, or a case study regarding a current or recent event.

Objectives: (1) To explore the intersection of business and human rights from the perspectives of human rights activists, governments, other stakeholders, and business managers, and (2) to enhance oral presentation and negotiation skills. Students will review case studies, litigation, news accounts, and primary source materials to understand the human rights standards that affect multinational corporations on a local, federal, and international level. Students should be prepared to argue key issues from the perspective of a human rights activist, government leader, business leader, and affected community member.

Students should come away from this course with: a grasp of relevant international human rights principles related to business; an understanding of general concepts and developments related to business and human rights; a working knowledge of existing efforts to address the corporate responsibility to respect human rights; experience conducting research that addresses specific questions related to challenges faced by specific companies or industries; and experience communicating the results of that research - and its real-world implications - both verbally and in writing.

Course Schedule
Offering Dates: 01-25-2021 - 04-27-2021  

Dates Day Time Room
01-25-2021 - 03-01-2021   M  6:20 PM-8:00 PM DL
03-08-2021 - 03-08-2021   M  6:20 PM-8:00 PM DL

Course Frequency

Course Information

Credits: 1
Pass/Fail Option: No
Prerequisite: None. Business Associations and/or prior human rights course work is preferred but not required.
Grading: Graded
Method of Evaluation: Class participation counts for 50% of the final grade, and the final exam comprises the other 50%.
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Skills Requirement
Special Attributes:
Compressed Course
New Course
Course Delivery:
Online (all synchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s): None
Bar Subject(s): None
Business Compliance and Sustainability (Area of Focus)   More information
Business Compliance and Sustainability (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s): TBD/None      
First Class Assignment(s): TBD/None



Contact Information:
Phone: 305-284-6534