Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


LHRG103 Legal Institutions and Human Rights

Unit rationale, description and aim

Business enterprises have a significant role to play in ensuring that human rights are realized. The purpose of this unit is to critically analyse human rights compliance in supply chains, business transactions and business operations. The unit will develop the knowledge and skills required to evaluate the concepts of corporate social responsibility and stewardship, and explore how mechanisms for scrutiny, oversight, due diligence, capacity building and awareness raising can advance human rights compliance. The unit will explore and analyse non-State-based grievance mechanisms, and also how artificial intelligence and automation can achieve compliance by and through design.

The aim of the unit is to equip you with knowledge of business operations which you will use to view all of the things you learn in the human rights program.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the circumstances in which business must show fidelity to human rights and how they organize their transactions and operations to do so (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Critically evaluate materials that demonstrate how business comply (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Critically evaluate materials tendered by Australian businesses in efforts to demonstrate compliance with human rights protocols (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  1. Business varieties and legal personality
  2. Corporate social responsibility
  3. Stewardship
  4. Compliance through law and legal policy
  5. Compliance through non-legal means
  6. Effectiveness of non-judicial grievance mechanisms
  7. Compliance in supply chains
  8. Case study: modern slavery compliance
  9. Compliance in transactions
  10. Case study: artificial intelligence and “compliance through design”
  11. Case study: privacy
  12. The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights at Work

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit comprises 150 hours of study in total. It will be taught over a 12 week semester, with one 2-hour lecture followed by a 1-hour tutorial each week. Other study components might include on-line webinars, podcasts, readings, discussion forums etc. The balance of the hours is comprised of private study.

Our strategy is to encourage students to actively engage with unit content and their peers; to provide a clear link between lecture content and tutorial practicum to develop skills that bridge the gap between theory and practice. Within an integrated learning framework, lectures will provide core content relating to the topics identified above and begin the process of exploration, which will be followed by detailed explanation and further investigation in tutorials. Through direct interaction between students and teachers, students are encouraged to engage in critical analysis of the foundational knowledge they acquire; to test that knowledge by applying it to factual situations; to produce solutions supported by legal authorities and arguments; and to reflect on their learning. Each component is intended to build on knowledge and skills and progressively scaffold student learning.

The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple preparatory and practice opportunities to guide in-class and out-of-class study. Technology assistance in the form of online learning resources, notices, assessment information (including online submission, marking and return of results/feedback), is student focused, affording greater accessibility and flexibility to the learning experience.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit seeks to model the appropriate use of psychological evidence in criminal matters, critical analysis of its use, and the important standards and ethical obligations that are relevant to using such evidence. Accordingly, three proposed assessments comprise an authentic scaffold aligned with the unit’s learning outcomes.

First, students demonstrate knowledge of the circumstances in which business must show fidelity to human rights and how they organize their transactions and operations to do so, through a quiz.

Second, students will critically evaluate materials that demonstrate how business do and do not comply with human rights through preparation of a case study.

Finally, under examination conditions, students will be presented with hypothetical cases and invited to identify and describe the varieties of human rights issues raised by these hypotheticals and develop ideas for resolving them.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Online multiple choice quiz: Require students to demonstrate their ability to write a brief description of the roles and responsibilities of psychologists and psychiatrists in criminal cases.



GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9

Case study: students will be presented with a hypothetical and invited to identify and describe the issues that may be useful in advancing a resolution of the case and explain why.


LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10

Exam, requiring critical evaluation of a number of human rights policy matters


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA5, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Dorothee Daumann-Pauly and Justine Nolan, Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice, Routledge 2016.

Florian Wettstein, Business and Human Rights: Ethical, Legal and Managerial Perspectives, CUP, 2022.

United Nations Human Rights, 2011, Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework

Law Council of Australia, 2016, Business and Human Rights and the Australian Legal Profession

Ludovica Chiussi Curzi, General Principles for Business and Human Rights in International Law (Brill, 2020)

Stephanie Bijilmakers, Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights and the Law (Taylor & Francis, 2020)

Nadia Bernaz, Business and Human Rights: History, Law and Policy – Bridging the Accountability Gap (Routledge, 2016)

Olivia Dean and Shelley Lichtman, ‘Are Australian Businesses Respecting Human Rights?’ in Paula Gerber and Melissa Castan, Critical Perspectives on Human Rights Law in Australia – Volume 2 (Thomson Reuters, 2022) 149.

Judith Schrempf-Stirling, Harry J. Van Buren III and Florian Wettstein, ‘Human Rights: A Promising Perspective for Business and Society’ (2022) 61(5) Business and Society 1282.

Rene Wolfsteller and Yingru Li, ‘Business and Human Rights Regulation After the UN Guiding Principles: Accountability, Governance, Effectiveness’ (2022) 23 Human Rights Review 1.

David Birchall, Corporate Power over Human Rights: An Analytical Framework (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs