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Unit of study_

LAWS5178: Development, Law and Human Rights

2024 unit information

This unit provides an introduction and critical overview of the law, policy and practice of the global development economy as it intersects with human rights, with a particular focus on the funding, administration and reform of international aid, the growing significance of private-sector lead development, and the over-arching importance of governance and the rule of law. The drive towards sustainable development has grown substantially over the past 20 years and is now a billion-dollar enterprise, yet the precise nature of it's relevance for human rights remains a matter of intense debate and its efficacy in protecting human rights is patchy. This unit of study analyses the global development reform experiences of the past half-century and interrogates the natures and justification(s) of human rights-based approaches to economic development through global trade, finance and the private sector, paying particular attention to the role of domestic and international legal regulation on the policy and practice of development. The unit comprises both theoretical approaches and practice-based teaching covering case-studies from across the globe.

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:


Code LAWS5178
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
LAWS3478 or LAWS6846
Assumed knowledge:

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Appreciate and understand first hand, the breadth and depth of human rights and legal problems as well as possibilities facing developing countries.
  • LO2. Gain practical experience of how government agencies, international organisations and civil society operate in developing countries.
  • LO3. Formulate, articulate and substantiate written and oral arguments using key features of the interaction between development and human rights laws and principles, in relation to a range of scenarios and issues.
  • LO4. Develop and deploy an independent, strategic sense of the potential and pitfalls of how human rights laws and principles intersect with the machinations of the global economy generally and its impact on development specifically, by reference to contemporary literature, policies and practices in this field.
  • LO5. Listen to, comprehend and respond constructively to legal and policy arguments formulated by others, including fellow USyd and KSL students and KSL lecturers, and to be able, accordingly, to communicate effectively your considered opinions and views.

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 1 2024
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Intensive February 2024
Block mode Nepal
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Intensive February 2020
Block mode Nepal
Outline unavailable
Semester 1 2021
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 1 2022
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Intensive February 2023
Block mode Nepal

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.

Important enrolment information

Departmental permission requirements

If you see the ‘Departmental Permission’ tag below a session, it means you need faculty or school approval to enrol. This may be because it’s an advanced unit, clinical placement, offshore unit, internship or there are limited places available.

You will be prompted to apply for departmental permission when you select this unit in Sydney Student.

Read our information on departmental permission.