Business decisions impact on all levels of society. Therefore companies have been encouraged by governments, international organisations and civil society to conduct their business in a ‘socially responsible way’ and to pursue ‘best practices’ that enhance value in three dimensions: ‘Planet, People, Profit’.
This course on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will focus on the place of CSR in society and the law, and address the role of the stakeholders involved in CSR. Students will be introduced in the laws and regulations applicable in CSR-issues, including some aspects of international and European law concerning business, human rights and environmental issues. They will receive general knowledge of the major issues regarding legal topics on CSR, such as the influence of corporate government codes, the responsibility of parent companies for their subsidiaries doing business abroad, contractual remedies in the field of CSR and their limits with a view to market regulation. In addition, they will have the chance to speak, in person, with business respresentatives about CSR dilemma’s.
During this interactive course on CSR, students will collaborate on assignments and participate in discussions on CSR-dilemma’s. Using general analytical and practical skill to assess CSR-dilemma’s, students will deduce the relevant questions from a given case and find the relevant (international) sources. Students will be taught the ability to demonstrate a critical and independent view when confronted with a CSR issue, and report orally and in writing. Basic knowledge of corporate law, private law and human rights is sufficient for participation.
Objectives of the course
The principal objectives of this course are:
to offer an introduction to the theoretical and practical outline of the most salient aspects of CSR in a national and global context;
to introduce the various definitions of CSR and the various contexts in which it is introduced;
to enhance the awareness of the dilemma’s intrinsic in doing business on a global scale;
to identify the instruments that can be used to implement CSR and to assess their nature (voluntary or binding);
*to understand, interpret and apply legislation, regulation and judicial decisions in the field of corporate law, contract law, tort, competition law, penal law and human rights; and - to introduce the international legal aspects of CSR.
By the end of the course the students should have:
a general insight of the place of CSR in society and law, and the position of the principle stakeholders involved;
a general insight in the laws and regulations applicable in CSR-issues, including some aspects of international and European law concerning business, human rights and environmental issues;
a general knowledge of the major issues regarding legal topics on CSR (such as the influence of corporate government codes, the responsibility of parent companies for their subsidiaries doing business abroad, contractual remedies in the field of CSR and their limits with a view to market regulation); and
a general analytical and practical skill to assess CSR-dilemma’s.
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:
the student is able to deduce the relevant questions on CSR from a given case;
the student is able to cooperate with one or more students to solve an insolvency question;
the student has the know how to find assigned (international) literature and other sources in the library and on internet;
the student has the ability to demonstrate a critical and independent view when confronted with a CSR-issue, to reach his or her own conclusions, and report orally and in writing.
The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.
Mode of instruction
Number of (2 hour) lectures: 5 plus opening session one week prior to start course
Names of lecturers: Prof. mr. A.G. Castermans and mr. dr. C.P.L. van Woensel
Required preparation by students: reading literature, case-law; weekly assignments.
Number of (2 hour) seminars: 5
Names of instructors: Prof. mr. A.G. Castermans and mr. dr. C.P.L. van Woensel
Required preparation by students: weekly assignments (students need to write essays; practice feedback; and present views orally, both in small teams and individually)
Other methods of instruction
Interactive interviews with guests during seminars
The assessment of this course is based on two elements:
- One assignment each week for five weeks consisting of a one-page, written essay on the topic of the week. . Each assignment will be graded individually. The average of the five grades will make up 20% of the final grade. There will be additional assignments such as team presentations but those will not be graded.
- One, final assignment at the end of the course consisting of a written essay of 750 words on a dilemma in the field of corporate social responsibility. This essay will make up 80% of the final grade.
Both elements together make up the final grade. All assignments are in English. Re-examination is open to course participants who failed to achieve a final grade of 5,5 or higher. The 20% score earned during the course still counts for the re-examination.
To be announced in course book and/or on Blackboard.
Areas to be tested within the exam
All subjects taught in the lectures, all required reading (literature, case-law) published here and on Blackboard, all other instructions and skills taught during the course.
More information on this course is offered on Blackboard.
Obligatory course materials
David Vogel, The Market for Virtue, Brookings Institution 2006 (paperback edition).Additional reading material will be announced on Blackboard.
Registration using uSis.
Co-ordinator: Mr. dr. C.P.L. (Caspar) van Woensel
Work address: Steenschuur 25, room number C.201
Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 1568
Institute: Leiden Law School, Institute for Private Law
Room number secretary: C.202
Opening hours: Daily, 9:00-17:00
Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 7401
Belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), kunnen meer informatie vinden over kosten, inschrijving, voorwaarden, etc. op de website van Juridisch PAO.