Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment ONE ESSAY OF 5,000 WORDS  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of the underlying rationale for the evolving obligations of multinational corporations to protect human rights in this area.

2. Display a detailed understanding of the environmental and human rights impacts of international businesses in their host countries and the differing nature of these across various jurisdictions.

3. Display a detailed understanding of the factors within host countries, especially in the economically less developed countries, which militate against effecting regulation and enforcement of environmental and human rights abuses against these companies.

4. Critically analyse and evaluate the legal responses at the international and transnational levels aimed at protecting host communities from environmental human rights abuses by multinational companies.

5. Access the relevant literature and materials in this field and use them to engage in a critical discussion of the subject.


1. The nature and legal personality of multinational corporations - historical and emerging trends.

2. The human rights implications of the environmental impact of international businesses in host countries - selected case studies.

3. Challenges faced by national legal regimes of host states in addressing the environmental impacts and human rights implications of the activities of multinational corporations.

4. International instruments (hard and soft law) regulating the environmental and human rights implications of international businesses.

5. Transnational regulation of multinational corporations by home states.

Brief description

The module will enable students to understand the environmental and human rights implications of the operations of international businesses in host countries and the consequent legal responses, especially the evolving personality of multinational companies as subjects of international law and the broadening of the scope of their obligations. The module responds to the need for students to develop a critical appreciation of the effectiveness or otherwise of the various responses at the international, transnational and national levels, especially in the context of implementation of various concepts and norms in international instruments at the national level and their enforcement by both economically developed and developing countries. It is an area of study with contemporary significance and an increasing amount of legal activity that is of practical relevance to potential students already working in certain areas (for instance, government departments, multinational companies, and non-governmental organizations) and for whom the format of distance learning is for various reasons a preferred option.

The module will begin with a critical appraisal of the nature of the personality of multinational corporations and the scope of their rights and obligations from both a historical and more modern perspective. Thereafter, with the use of case studies, students will be introduced to some of the impacts that business activities can have on the environment, and the challenges to some national regimes in effectively redressing these. This will be followed by an appraisal of the international law instruments/mechanisms that have developed to address some of these abuses and their implementation and enforcement. To the extent that there are still lapses, attention will be paid to transnational regimes such as the US Alien Tort Claims Act (US ATCA) which has been the basis of action for environmental and human right abuses against various US companies operating in foreign jurisdictions.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Through the study and analysis of quantitative research and data.
Communication Written communication is developed by the presentation of information and argument in written answers and in a more informal way by the use of Blackboard to encourage communication among students and between students and staff. Oral communication skills are developed at the residential study schools. Written communication assessed only.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through the independent study of the subject at a distance.
Information Technology Via the teaching, study and learning which are essential to a course delivered via the medium of distance learning.
Personal Development and Career planning Independent learning enhances time management skills. Studying the module will also develop an enhanced capacity for critical thought and the ability to work independently.
Problem solving Through the examination and discussion of actual and hypothetical cases in relation to the law on the right to a healthy environment.
Research skills Students will be required to read and study beyond the set module texts and to locate further materials and research findings on the subject.
Subject Specific Skills This module provides students with the opportunity to identify, analyse, evaluate and practice a series of skills with respect to international business, environment and human rights.
Team work Team working skills will be encouraged and developed in group activities and discussions at the residential study schools.


This module is at CQFW Level 7