Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Legal Aspects of Corporate Responsibility LAW3039

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The course examines the role of law and institutions in developing the modern-day concepts and practices of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER).


The course studies CSR and CER adaptions within the governance of companies and a wider range of tools and institutions that support the accountability of companies and sustainable economic development at law.


Teaching is by weekly 2 hour seminar for 15 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Students should have already taken an introductory course to business organisations at UG level. The course is suitable for visiting students.

Excluded Courses





One essay should be submitted, totalling 3000 words (25%) and a 3 hour examination (75%).

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

■ To provide students with an understanding of the history, concept and practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) and the role of law and institutions in this area. 


■ To provide opportunities for students to identify and critically evaluate the multi-dimensional regulatory and governance strategies entwined with CSR and CER, and their bearing on corporate governance and the management of domestic and transnational companies. 


■ To engage students with the role of different stakeholders within the practice of CSR and CER at companies, and to apply those insights to current debates about corporate accountability and corporate sustainability, nationally and globally.


■ To enable students to explore the breadth of CSR and CER institutions and obligations within corporate, consumer, investment, private, and human rights law, and to evaluate gaps in the accountability of companies with reference to leading debates about the issues and legal reform.


■ To enhance student's written and verbal communication skills through their preparation of written assignments and participation in seminars, discussion, and class presentations.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the history, concept and practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate environmental responsibility (CER) and the place of CSR and CER within modern-day frameworks for corporate law and governance.


■ Identify and evaluate different sources of CSR and CER within corporate law and governance, and critically evaluate the role of 'soft-law' and market discipline in CSR and CER.


■ Identify and analyze a wider range of legal sources and frameworks associated with multi-dimensional regulatory governance of domestic and transnational companies and the 'new corporate accountability' (in consumer and investment law, private law, human rights law).


■ Explain the normative and conceptual breadth of CSR and CER debates and issues and draw meaningful comparisons between different approaches to the subject in different jurisdictions.


■ Enter into and engage with current debates and reform proposals in CSR and CER, relating developments and legal regimes to domestic and global agenda for sustainable economic development, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.