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KDEC 9675 - Controlling Transnational Corporations

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The course shall map the debate on the regulation of the activities of transnational corporations, reviewing both the history of the discussion on the status of TNCs in international law, and the various tools that have been developed (both voluntary and binding) in order to ensure that they are effectively controlled. We will explore the attempts developed within the UN, within the OECD, within the EU, and by the unilateral action of States, and compare the different approaches. The course will be problems-based. With the exception of the introductory session of 15 January, it shall be organized around debates for which the students shall arrive prepared to defend a certain position -- that of a government, of an intergovernmental organisation or a non-governmental organisation. The roles shall be divided up immediately after the first session. Each student shall be expected to prepare two sessions in total. This means presenting (in 6-7 minutes) a position, and have gained an understanding of the issues solid enough to be able to defend that position against objections raised by others.


DE SCHUTTER, Olivier (Professor, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food)

Pedagogical format

Interactive seminars and role-playing games.

Course validation

Effective participation in the role-playing games and in class discussions.


Readings (certain number of extracts of articles and of textbooks will be provided) and preparation of positions adopted in the role-playing games.

Required reading

Doctrinal articles, reports (both from intergovernmental and from non-governmental sources), arbitral awards and judgments will be provided.

Additional required reading

  • A specific bibliography shall be provided for each session in the roadmap for the course. General readings include the following:
  • O. De Schutter (ed.), Transnational Corporations and Human Rights (Hart Publ., Oxford and Portland, Oregon, 2006)
  • O. De Schutter, J. Swinnen and J. Wouters (eds), Foreign Direct Investment and Human Development (Routledge, London, 2012).
  • O. De Schutter, Trade in the Service of Sustainable Development. Linking Trade to Labour Rights and Environmental Standards (Bloomsbury / Hart Publ., London, 2015)