Taught course

International Human Rights Law (Economic Relations)

University of Essex · Essex Law School

Entry requirements

A 2:2 honours degree or above, or international equivalent. While prior academic study or professional experience of law is desirable, it is not a requirement for admission. LLM students who have not previously studied Public International Law will take a one-term module on this topic.

Months of entry


Course content

Economic actors and institutions - including private businesses, the World Bank, and the WTO - can have a profound impact on the realisation of human rights. Whether it's a case of an indigenous community displaced from their land for the benefit of a mining company, a World Bank-funded dam that pollutes the environment, or a state being unable to provide crucial medicines because of international property agreements, understanding the relationship between human rights and economic actors, activities, and institutions is necessary for securing the full realisation of rights.

International human rights law has traditionally focused only on the relationship between the state and individuals, meaning that businesses and international economic institutions have escaped both responsibility and liability. By pursuing LLM International Human Rights Law (Economic Relations), you will learn about the challenges, pitfalls and (most importantly) the opportunities to pursue greater compliance by and accountability for economic actors when their activity harms human rights.

Our LLM International Human Rights Law (Economic Relations) builds off of our foundation LLM International Human Rights Law, meaning that you will take the same compulsory modules that will expose to you the theories, institutions and practice of international human rights law. You will also take compulsory modules that address businesses' responsibility for human rights, and the relationship between human rights and international trade and investment law. You will complement these compulsory modules with optional modules of your choosing, and then complete your degree with a dissertation focused on issues of human rights and economic actors and relations.

You also have an opportunity to work with our Essex Business and Human Rights Project (EBHR) or a relevant project in the Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic. In working with EBHR or a Clinic project, you will have an opportunity to develop research skills, to apply those skills to practical problems arising within the field, and to network with our alumni and other leading figures within the fields of business, investment, trade and human rights. Students are also given the flexibility to attend the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, either as a student volunteers or as individual attendees (although students must bear their own expenses for this trip).

Our LLM in International Human Rights Law (Economic Relations) attracts some of the most experienced and academically qualified students from around the world. It aims to produce graduates who will be leaders in the field. Our Essex human rights alumni work for a variety of relevant stakeholders, working with large multinational corporations and small non-governmental organisations, researching at academic institutions, litigating cases with law firms, and serving in either their national governments, national human rights institutes, or in intergovernmental organisations, including the United Nations. Each year, alumni working in these areas meet up with our current staff and students at the annual United Nations Business and Human Rights Forum.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • LLM
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

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