Corp Soc Responsibility: Theory/Pol (LAWS6140)


Today there is an apparent consensus in favour of corporate responsibility, as reflected in instruments such as ASX Principle 3 ("Act ethically and responsibly"), but behind the appearance of consensus lie difficult questions of principle, policy and practical application. This unit aims to equip participants to engage in a sophisticated manner in the analysis of such questions. The seminar is organized around two broad themes. First, the seminar will examine corporate responsibility in the traditional sense of the consideration that corporations may be expected to give to the impact of their activities have on society, even as they strive to earn profits for their shareholders. Topics include environmental responsibility, corporate philanthropy, and the respective roles of directors, managers and shareholders. Second, the seminar will deal with current debates about the rights and responsibilities that arise from corporate personhood, including those concerning corporate criminal responsibility, corporate political participation, and the status of corporations under international law. Participants will learn to work with relevant primary and secondary legal materials, including materials from selected foreign jurisdictions, especially in North America. They will also become familiar with the conceptual tools available from various interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g., law, economics, philosophy, politics) for analysing problems of corporate responsibility.

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Further unit of study information


Jul 20, 21 & 27, 28 (9-4)


class participation (15%), assignment (10%) and 6000wd essay (75%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Additional Information

Available to MLLR students who commenced after Jan 2015.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.