MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
LLM Corporate Responsibility and Business Law options

Year 1, Component 05

Business Law, Human Rights Law or Corporate Responsibility Law option(s) from list
Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

Explore issues ranging from environmental disasters to corporate greed and from executive pay to ethical bottled water. You discover the relationship between management and corporations on the one hand, and society and nature on the other, engaging in debates around ecological sustainability, governance and corporate ethics and responsibility.

Religion, Gender Equality and Postcoloniality

How do Islamic legal traditions impact on international human rights discourse? And on Muslim state practice? Study the debates surrounding Islam and universal human rights. Examine the diversity of perspectives surrounding human rights in Islamic thought and practice. Develop the tools for cross-cultural understanding and engagement.

Human Rights, International Relations and Diplomacy

How does the international system enhance the advancement of human rights? And how does it constrain it? Study the international system and its influence on human rights. Examine the role of foreign policy instruments in promoting human rights. Analyse how human rights can advance foreign policy goals by states.

Human Rights, Social Justice and Social Change

Until very recently, it was frequently claimed that human rights were the dominant moral instruments for regulating global politics and law. Indeed, many went so far as to claim that we were living in an age of human rights. Is this still true today? Human rights are increasingly challenged from a variety of perspectives. Indeed, an increasing number of people describe the global human rights project to be in a state of real crisis. With human rights increasingly challenged, it is vitally important that we are able to understand the basis and extent of this challenge, in order to overcome the challenge. This module provides an opportunity to do just that. We will situate the theory and the practice of human rights within the broader moral and political contexts within which contemporary human rights unfolds. We will also connect theory with practice in order to examine key spheres in which the challenge to human rights occurs.

Banking Law

You’ll cover the legal aspects of banking transactions, banking regulation and the bank-customer relationship. You’ll be introduced to the concept as banks as economic and social institutions and their regulation in a domestic and global context. You’ll analyse the bank-customer relationship including the important issues of contractual fairness, the banks duty of confidentiality, and the potential for transactional and advisory liability.

Employment Law and Practice

What is the nature of the legal relationship between employers and employees? Study the practical application of employment law to the settlement of workplace disputes while gaining practical skills in drafting and advocacy before an employment tribunal.

Regional Human Rights Systems

This module provides an overview of the main regional systems for the protection of human rights. It identifies the applicable treaty and related standard-setting frameworks and provides a review of how they work to contribute to the protection of human rights in the respective regions. The module also explores the similarities and differences among the regional systems, both in respect of procedures and substantive rights provision (especially with respect to women's rights). It also provides some background to debates about how regional mechanisms relate or should relate to the domestic legal frameworks in the different regions as well as debates about the relative placement of the regional mechanisms vis-à-vis the universal (United Nations) system of human rights.

International Trade Finance Law

In this module you’ll develop detailed knowledge of the techniques and legal context of the financing of international trade. You’ll focus on international trade finance products and methods; namely documentary collections, documentary letters of credit, standby letters of credit and bonds/guarantees, international factoring, forfaiting, international leasing, and export credit agency financing. No previous knowledge is required.

International Sale of Goods

In this module you study the second most important contract in international trade, the carriage contract. You’ll develop substantial knowledge of the carriage contract and will be able to place that within the matrix of international shipment sales, including the insurance and finance of international trade. You’ll also interpret domestic and international legislation relating to the international carriage of goods by sea.

Carriage of Goods By Sea

In this module you study the second most important contract in international trade, the carriage contract. You’ll develop substantial knowledge of the carriage contract and will be able to place that within the matrix of international shipment sales, including the insurance and finance of international trade. You’ll also interpret domestic and international legislation relating to the international carriage of goods by sea.

International Commercial Dispute Resolution

The vast increase in international trade has led to a proportionate increase in the use of arbitration as a means of resolving international commercial disputes. You’ll examine the different aspects of international commercial and investment arbitration with a view to understanding best practices in the working of the arbitral tribunals.

Marine Insurance

Marine insurance is one of the backbone contracts to an international sale and carriage transaction and this module introduces you to the structure and formation of that contract. It includes the protection of ships, cargoes and energy interests. 2015 brought the biggest change in insurance law for over 100 years with the Insurance Act 2015 receiving Royal Assent, coming into force in 2016. You’ll benefit from learning the foundations of the law from the Marine Insurance Act 1906 and the new law of the Insurance Act 2015.

Maritime Law and Wet Shipping

You’ll study the law of marine insurance in the wider context of international trade law, with emphasis on the impact of the London markets on the practice of insurance and reinsurance across the globe. You’ll focus on the key relationships and legal obligations that underpin the modern law and practice of marine insurance.

International Financial Law

You’ll gain an understanding of the range of financing options available to a large corporation and their individual contribution to the financial industry. You’ll also analyse the key legal issues and risks, and will advise a hypothetical lender/investor on how to address the issues and how to mitigate and avoid the risks.

International Law of the Sea

This module provides a comprehensive overview to the international legal framework applicable to the sea. Historically, the seas have always played an important role in the interests of States, eg exploration, navigation and trade, as well as the exploitation of resources. The delicate balance between the principles of sovereignty and freedom of the high seas is placed alongside the need for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity, raising tensions and fundamentally important questions of international law. This module offers you the opportunity to engage with the most cutting-edge developments in international law, as well as to understand the rich history that has shaped the international law of the sea. The module commences by demonstrating how the codification of the international law of the sea has been characterized by the differing interests of States, trying to achieve a sensitive balance between State sovereignty and the freedom of the high seas -- as evidenced by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea "UNCLOS" (1982). The module will then examine how UNCLOS governs different sea zones, starting from the rights and obligations of coastal States in relation to the territorial seas, contiguous zones and exclusive economic zone. The special regime of the continental shelf will also be addressed in light of the rights and powers of coastal States, eg exploitation of resources, as well as the rights and interests of third States and the international community, eg marine scientific research and protection of the marine environment. The module then moves beyond national jurisdiction by delving into the legal regime of the high seas, dealing with freedom of fishing and navigation, and with the rules permitting ships to visit and search other ships (shipping interdiction). The regime of the International Seabed Area will also be examined. Then, the module will consider States' rights, duties and obligations in relation to the conservation of marine living resources, as well as the conservation of marine biological diversity, before drawing to light the ongoing negotiations at the UN in relation to a legally binding instrument on the conservation of marine biological diversity beyond national jurisdiction. Finally, this module will expose you to the approach of international courts and tribunals to maritime delimitation claims between States. You will learn about the voluntary and compulsory mechanisms available to States for disputes on the law of the sea.

Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Law

You’ll analyse how new information technologies influence the traditional legal approach to crime prevention and criminal prosecution. You’ll study the complexity of the challenges facing the legal profession. You’re encouraged to build on your knowledge of substantive criminal law to assess to what extent existing criminal law principles and tools can be used to solve new problems. As the challenges are not unique to the UK, where appropriate a comparative approach will be adopted with the US and Europe.

Data Protection Law in the Digital Age

In this module you’ll gain a detailed understanding of the law governing data protection, and in particular European Union law on this subject.

Contemporary Issues in Commercial and Business Law

This module aims to apply the comparative and case study methodologies to examine the national and global legal, philosophical, historical and socio-political contexts of business law and commercial relationships and transactions.

Competition Law and Fundamentals of Digital Markets Regulation

Ensuring effective competition and maintaining a competitive market structure are the two key elements of EU competition policy. In this module you’ll examine the legal rules of EU Competition Law, taking into account the underlying economic principles and wider policy issues. Gain an understanding of the rationale behind competition law and policy, and its importance in the regulation of a free market economy, and develop an in-depth knowledge of the general principles of EU competition law and its application.

International Law of Armed Conflict

How can international law protect vulnerable groups during times of armed conflict? And can it be improved? Build knowledge of international law by examining the rules and legal classifications of armed conflict. Evaluate how international law tries to prevent and punish violations. Gain practical experience by studying real-life examples.

Current Challenges in the Law of Armed Conflict

How do you protect the environment during armed conflict? What role does the media play in conflict situations? What are the implications of asymmetric warfare? Undertake in-depth analysis of problems associated with armed conflict. Examine real-life issues that interest you, to see how different laws, institutions and competing interests combine.

International Criminal Law

How does international criminal law deal with terrorism? Or with genocide and crimes against humanity? What role does the International Criminal Court play? Study international criminal law and the principles of jurisdiction. Analyse the idea of state criminal responsibility. Build knowledge of human rights in relation to international criminal law.

Conflict and the United Nations: the Law related to the Use of Force, Sanctions and Peacekeeping

How does public international law apply to peace and field operations? What about international human rights law? Or the international law of armed conflict? Understand the institutional law of the United Nations. Examine foundational legal aspects of peace operations, as well as key unresolved legal issues.

Public International Law

What does it mean to be an international lawyer? Understand the founding principles of international law. Apply the tools and techniques of legal reasoning to the international legal system. Understand how the system of international law works and form your own views through discussions of contemporary issues.

The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law

What protection does international law offer refugees and internally displaced persons? Examine legal definitions of refugee status. Understand the guarantees provided for such groups by international human rights law. Evaluate the limitations of such laws by states in Europe and North America.

Human Rights, Development and the Environment

What does right to development mean? How does it relate to human rights treaties? What is a human rights-based approach to development? Study international human rights law, exploring theoretical and practical implications of linking human rights and development. Analyse specific human rights themes. Evaluate the role of governments and organisations.

Trade, Investment, Environment, and Human Rights

What are the global standards set by the GATT/World Trade Organisation? And by World Bank policies? Examine relationships between human rights, international trade and foreign investment. Study legal issues, plus ethical, political and economic arguments on current topics. Evaluate cases to see the practical effect of linking trade and rights.

Human Rights and Women

You’ll receive an introduction to the protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ human rights under international law. Your focus will be on the universal human rights mechanisms, with some analysis of regional human rights mechanisms, especially relating to violence against women. You’ll consider sexual and reproductive rights, economic, social and cultural rights, administration of justice, women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict, and violence against women. You’ll also look at the persistence of gender stereotyping, theories of equality and discrimination, and the efforts of human rights defenders.

Business and Human Rights

What are the human rights responsibilities of private companies? And what about public or private institutions financing projects aimed at world development? Evaluate principles regulating human rights and examine how they contrast with principles regulating multinational commercial interests. Consider real-life cases from both national and international courts.

International Human Rights: Theories and Institutions

The module starts by providing students with an overview of human rights and human rights law. It then introduces students to a range of critical approaches to human rights law, including feminist, TWAIL (Third World Approaches to International Law), postcolonial, and queer approaches. Next, the module looks at the range of international and regional institutions for enforcing human rights, before turning to domestic enforcement. The module ensures students on the International Human Rights LLMs have a firm grounding in theoretical approaches to international human rights law, as well as the core institutions for human rights protection.

Transitional Justice

Broadly speaking transitional justice refers to the belief that any State where mass atrocities have taken place should engage with a set of judicial and non-judicial processes in order to achieve a successful transition from conflict to peace or repression to democracy. You’ll receive an overview of the history, theory, legal background and dilemmas of transitional justice, followed by in-depth discussions of the four pillars of transitional justice – truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, and of their interrelatedness.

International Environmental Law and Sustainability

This module introduces students to the critical study of international environmental law and sustainable development with an emphasis on the practical effects that these areas of law have on the decision-making, whether that be of States themselves, international organisations or businesses.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Context

This module builds on the foundational introduction to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) provided in module International Human Rights Law: Law and Practice. Other related modules that may of interest to students of ESCR are: Human Rights and Women, Human Rights Centre Clinic, Protection of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights and Development, Investment, Trade and Human Rights, Business and Human Rights and Human Rights, Social Justice and Social Change.

Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence never seems to be far from the headlines. Sarah O`Connor of the Financial Times was quoted in a recent House of Lords report as stating that `if you ever write an article that has robots or artificial intelligence in the headline, you are guaranteed that it will have twice as many people clicking on it`. The advent of big data and more advanced and cheaper computational power has meant that machine learning has become much more accessible and available to a wide range of actors. AI is no longer the preserve of science fiction but is already a reality with many forms of machine learning and robotics already being used today. Within the last few years, governments and major technology companies have started to release AI strategies and major investments are being made in innovation and in understanding how AI will benefit and present risks to society. AI is already offering many opportunities for the better protection of human rights while at the same time presenting serious risks. While many actors describe these risks narrowly (focusing on the right to privacy), the threats (as well as the opportunities) affect the entire human rights spectrum. For example, AI applications may be used to document human rights violations; implement the Sustainable Development Goals; respond more effectively to the refugee `crisis`; and manage the impacts of climate change. They potentially offer innovative ways to enhance access to education; enable persons with disabilities and older persons to live more autonomously; advance the right to the highest attainable standard of health; and provide ways to tackle human trafficking and forced labour. At the same time, the use of big data and AI can present significant risks to human rights, even in contexts where they are used with the intention to advance them. They can introduce new threats and aggravate and amplify existing challenges to human rights, for example by reducing accountability for rights violations due to opaque decision-making processes, or by widening inequality. This could be due to factors such as uneven distribution of benefits, discriminatory impacts and biased datasets. Big data and AI have wide ranging effects across society and individuals` lives, including collective impact, many of which are not yet fully understood. They can put the full spectrum of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – at risk. Many actors involved in the governance and regulation of AI as well as key international, regional and national human rights institutions and NGOs are starting to work on the human rights impact of AI and to develop responses, although this remains at an embryonic stage. This module is designed to enable you to learn about the different technologies that fall under the broad and popular heading of `AI` and to understand and analyse how their use in different contexts affects human rights. The module is offered by the ESRC Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project based at the University of Essex. We are a major ESRC investment examining the risks and opportunities for human rights posed by big data and technology and developing effective policy, governance and regulatory responses. We work internationally on these issues and will integrate our ongoing research and practical experience on these issues into the module. This will enable you to engage with technological and policy developments as they happen in a rapidly changing field. As many international organisations, governments, technology companies and NGOs are starting to grapple with the impact of AI on human rights and the way in which they work, this module will provide preparation for study and employment after the LLM and MA across a range of domains and institutions.

Corporate Responsibility and Business Law

This module examines the concepts, theories and models of corporate responsibility and corporate social responsibility (CSR) and their implications and challenges for business law and practice. It examines the role of CSR in as a business strategy and public governance tool in the context of the social and environmental impacts of business activities that suggest interesting dimensions to the role of business in society. In this module you will examine the debates and doctrines of CSR in domestic and transnational environments.The module reflects some degrees of comparative analysis and interdisciplinarity and case study exercises will also enable you to explore the approaches of different disciplines to CSR, including law, management, politics, philosophy, ethics and international relations. You will have an opportunity to discover the strengths and weaknesses of taking global, contextual and comparative approaches to CSR.

Corporate Governance: Principles and Models
Academic Skills in International Law

This module is a compulsory module for all LLM in International Law students on all pathways, which aims to develop students’ academic skills as required for the postgraduate study of international law. This module has been designed to be taken alongside the module LW902 Public International Law (also compulsory for all LLM in International Law students). The LW949 Academic Skills in International Law module equips students with the technical skills required to engage in research and study of public international law, including academic referencing of scholarship, treaties, cases of international courts and tribunals. Students also develop the necessary skills to analyse international legal materials, complete both essay and problem-based questions within the field, produce high-quality independent writing at postgraduate level, and reflect upon feedback. This module will also prepare students for the foundation essay (formative essay) for the LLM in International Law. This is a formative essay, which provides an opportunity for students to engage with postgraduate level reading and writing on a topic of international law, and to submit an essay for the first time at LLM level. As a valuable learning tool, students receive feedback on their foundation essay, allowing them to reflect accordingly for future coursework with a view on how to further develop their skills throughout their postgraduate degree.

Commercial Conflict of Laws

This module examines the concepts, theories, rules, models and principles of Conflict of Laws as they relate to commercial relationships, transactions and disputes. Focusing on litigation, it considers relevant international conventions, regional instruments, model laws, legal guides, restatements of law, national law and other sources of rules and principles governing transborder commercial relationships, transactions and disputes. It then investigates how Conflict of Laws has developed to balance international or transnational commercial concerns with national approaches in determining appropriate jurisdiction and choice of law and in recognising and enforcing foreign judgments. The module critically examines theoretical debates and doctrines of Conflict of Laws in the light of existing transnational and national approaches and practical cases. It draws on materials and practices from different national jurisdictions and international or transnational institutions and reflects some degrees of comparative analysis.

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