In the Business and Human Rights Clinic students work on cases and projects that address the impact the globalized economy may have or has had on human rights. In the current global economy, many corporations operate transnationally. As a consequence, clinic projects are cross boundary; they often touch on different jurisdictions and require an interdisciplinary approach.
The Business and Human Rights Clinic’s projects see to complex legal questions with a public interest character, and analyse corporate activities against among others the existing business and human rights framework to protect, respect and promote.
In the Business and Human Rights Clinic students combine theory and practice. Students conduct legal research and provide pro bono legal advice to private individuals, non-governmental organizations, and international governmental organizations.
The Business and Human Rights Clinic seeks to contribute to cases and projects that advance human rights, to address the consequences of the global economy on human rights, specifically on economic and social rights, and to engage in corporate accountability efforts that address the human rights impact of business activities. In the Business and Human Rights Clinic, a critical approach is taken towards the law and the current economic system, addressing the power balance between corporations and workers, communities, and the environment. Students work in a collaborative manner with individuals, communities and organizations, based on a trust relationship.
Clinical work consists of projects undertaken for amongst others clients and non-governmental organizations. Students work in teams of 3-5 students under close supervision of University staff. This provides students with an intensive training on fact-finding, legal writing, and communication skills. Part of the clinical work are regular meetings between the student, the supervisor and the clients. Emphasis is placed on professionalism, high quality work, teamwork, and respect for confidentiality.
My clinic experience at the UVA taught me practical skills such as drafting a project methodology with a timeline, organizational skills like managing short-term deadlines with long-term objectives as well as communication skills by receiving and providing feedback to my teammates, all very useful for my future career.Ludivine Gondouin (BHRC Spring ’20) Master International and European Law
Taking the Amsterdam Law Clinic course has been one of the best decisions I have taken so far: not only I got the chance to learn by doing - working with professionals in the real world and, therefore, gaining hands-on expertise - but it literally opened my mind to whole new legal fields and arguments, which have been extensively taught and discussed during the lectures.Suzan Salama (BHRC Spring '20) Master European Union Law
For the second semester of 2020-2021, one of the projects students enrolled in the Business and Human Rights Clinic can work on sees to a collaboration with the WWF. Students will explore ways to situate human rights protection into a broader context of ecological integrity. Particular attention will be paid to the emerging transnational development ‘Rights of Nature’, wherein legal personality and enforceable rights are recognized for an increasing number of natural entities, including rivers, mountains and forests.
Should you have a particular interest in taking part in this project, then please state so in your application for the spring semester.
During the first semester (2020-2021), the Business and Human Rights Clinic is working on the following projects:
For the past year, students from the Business and Human Rights Clinic have been conducting a multi-jurisdictional research on the use of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) in Europe. SLAPPs are used by companies or private individuals to sue public watchdogs as a means of legal intimidation. For this project students have been conducting numerous interviews with lawyers, activists and civil society organizations throughout Europe as well as analyzing the applicable legal framework. A preliminary report was finalized for the clinic’s client in January 2020. An updated and more extensive version is expected by July 2020.
During two subsequent semesters, students from the Business and Human Rights Clinic have researched for two NGOs the possibilities of legally challenging arms exports to countries engaged in armed conflict and involved in the commission of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Students examined the international, European and national legal framework and provided a legal analysis accompanied by strategic considerations to their clients.
Examples of additional other cases
In 2019, the Business and Human Rights Clinic assisted two NGOs on a case regarding two Dutch corporations that traded goods derived from the occupied territory of Western-Sahara. The clinic analyzed the legal implications of the trade. To provide a comprehensive legal analysis the students researched the law on occupied territories, provisions of International Humanitarian Law, Dutch civil procedural law and EU consumer protection laws.
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For any questions regarding the Business and Human Rights Clinic, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact:
Please submit your application, in English, by sending an email to email@example.com addressed to Ms. Rosa Lokin-Möhrlein, LL.M, indicating in the subject-line ‘Application Amsterdam Law Clinics - [your name]’. Your application must include:
If selected for the clinic of first choice, selection is binding.
Applications for the first semester of academic year 2021-2022 have not yet been opened; the deadline for submitting applications is expected to be announced on this website in March.
If you're interested in more hands-on information about the clinic and experiences from former Business and Human Rights Clinic students, you can contact any of the following former students. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with the relevant contact information.
Former Business and Human Rights Clinic students Fall '19:
Former Business and Human Rights students Spring '20: