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Disputation: Corporations and Human Rights under General Principles of Law

Master of Laws Ludovica Chiussi at University of Oslo Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and at the University of Bologna (School of Law) will be defending the thesis Corporations and Human Rights- under General Principles of Law for the degree of Ph.D.

Trial lecture - time and Place

27. juni 2019 10:15 - 11:00, Gamle festsal, 1. etg. Urbygningen  

Title: The proposed UN treaty on transnational corporations and human rights: progress or confusion?

Adjudication committee

  • Professor Freya Baetens, University of Oslo (leader)
  • Professor Ludovic Hennebel, Faculté de droit d'Aix-en-Provence (1. opponent)
  • Professor Makane Moïse Mbengue, Université de Genève (2.opponent)
  • Professor Alessandra Pietrobon, Università degli Studi di Padova
  • Associate Professor Anna Maria C. Lundberg, University of Oslo

Chair of defence

Professor Ragnhild Helene Hennum, University of Oslo


  • Professor Mads Andenæs, University of Oslo
  • Professor Attila Tanzi, University of Bologna


In the last decades, the relationship between business practices and human rights has increasingly come to the fore in international law.

While states remain the ultimate duty bearers in the protection of human rights, it is generally recognised that corporations are expected to comply with international human rights law.

A general consensus exists over a baseline corporate responsibility to respect human rights, yet disagreement persists on the legal content, if any, of such obligation.

This work critically examines the role of general principles of law in the business and human rights field. The inclusion of ‘general principles of law’ in Article 38(1)(c) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice provides for an interpretative legal technique and a source of international law. Against this backdrop, this study adopts a three-tier approach.

First, it focuses on the role of principles as an interpretive tool of the human rights obligations bearing on states with regard to corporate activities.

Second, it considers whether and to what extent principles can constitute a source of obligations for corporations.

Third, it asks whether a principle of corporate liability is emerging in international law.



Published June 11, 2019 3:40 PM - Last modified Aug. 9, 2019 1:17 PM