Seminar FS 2015

"Human Rights and Business: Access to Remedy"

A two-day seminar with guest professor Hans Petter Graver from the University of Oslo, Norway, and Prof. Dr. Christine Kaufmann, University of Zurich, Switzerland

The seminar is scheduled to take place from 4 to 5 May 2015 at Schloss Wartegg, Rorschacherberg. The maximum cost for board and accommodation will amount to CHF 270 per student. Each student is expected to bear his or her own costs for the seminar.

The seminar aims to study selected themes relating to the accountability of business actors for human rights abuses and the access to remedy for victims of such abuses. The course will explore judicial and non-judicial grievance mechanisms on both the national and international levels. A primary focus will center on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. The topic will be first explored from a general perspective, followed by a more in-depth examination of specific and pertinent aspects. This will also include referencing contextual examples as relevant case studies. Topics covered will include state obligations stemming from international instruments, the potential and limitations of litigation in domestic legal systems, and issues of extraterritorial jurisdiction. The analysis and evaluation of non-judicial mechanisms will particularly focus on the mandate(s), structure(s) and decisions of the OECD National Contact Points.

To successfully complete the seminar, students are required to actively participate in the course and to write one seminar paper on a topic assigned to them at the preparatory meeting on 16 December 2014. They are further required to present their research at the seminar.

Provisional List of Topics (PDF, 271 KB)


Participants will be selected based on their English proficiency, their knowledge of pertinent fields of law, as well as their motivation to engage in a critical and constructive discussion on the topic of business and human rights. Please note that a maximum of 16 students will be admitted to the seminar. Participation is open to Bachelor and Master students in law of the University of Zurich.

Interested students are invited to apply via email ( by 10 December 2014 (deadline extension). In your application, please briefly explain (max. 500 words)

  • your level of English proficiency (as evidenced by e.g. results from a TOEFL/IELTS test, a stay abroad, an exchange semester, a seminar you participated in which was taught in English);
  • your knowledge of international law, human rights law and/or business law (e.g. the courses already taken); and 
  • your motivation for participating in the course.

Please also state if you are enrolled in the Bachelor or Master program in law at UZH (including the number of semesters you have already studied law). Short interviews (each lasting approximately ten minutes) will be conducted on a rolling basis with the students interested in participating in the seminar. Please bring a printout of your latest transcript with you to the interview. We will inform you of our decision on your application shortly after your interview.

Seminar Paper (Master or Bachelor Thesis)

Topics will be assigned at the preparatory meeting on 16 December 2014 (new date!). Prior to the meeting participants will receive a definite list of topics.

Scope of the thesis:

  • Bachelor thesis (6 ECTS): 6 ECTS correspond to about 25 pages.
  • Master thesis (6 - 18 ECTS): 6 ECTS correspond to about 25 pages; 12 ECTS correspond to about 40 pages; 18 ECTS correspond to about 60 pages.


10 December 2014 Extended deadline for application
until mid-December 2014 Short interviews with applicants
16 December 2014 (new date) Preparatory meeting (topic assignment)
9 March 2015 Submission of detailed research designs of the theses (with bibliography)
by mid-April 2015 Feedback on the dispositions
4 to 5 May 2015 Seminar at Schloss Wartegg
22 May 2015 Submission of the final version of the theses. Please note that if you need the ECTS points for the spring semester this deadline is final.


Please direct all your inquiries to (addressed to Ms Laura Marschner).