McGeorge School of Law

The Global Impact and Implementation of Human Rights Norms


March 11 to 12, 2011


Human rights norms are often studied as an independent body of law with tribunals dedicated to interpreting and enforcing those norms. However, human rights norms are also increasingly incorporated into the development of substantive law in fields as diverse as labor law, corporate governance, environmental law, torts, intellectual property, and armed conflict. The symposium brought together scholars in diverse areas of substantive law to discuss the impact of human rights norms in their fields.

The conference was co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Northern California, Sacramento Chapter, the McGeorge International Law Society, and the American Branch of the International Law Association.

Symposium Articles

The papers presented at this conference were published in Vol. 25 No. 1 of the McGeorge Global Business & Development Law Journal (June 2012). The articles are available for download below (as PDF files).

Questions included
  • Are human rights norms used to define elements of causes of action, legal responsibility, or defenses?
  • How are human rights norms taken into account in law reform efforts?
  • Have human rights norms been the driving force behind law reform?
  • To what extent is the law of human rights balanced with another area of law in judicial decisions? How is that balanced achieved?
  • What are the consequences of greater incorporation of human rights norms?
  • What happens when national and international institutions adopt conflicting interpretations of human rights norms?
  • Is fragmentation necessarily problematic or can it serve useful purposes, such as facilitating experimentation with diverse approaches or providing a check on hegemonic ambitions?
  • Alternatively, if harmonization should be a priority in this field, what kinds of processes and institutions are best positioned to advance it?
Panels included

The Relationship Between Human Rights Norms and Corporate Governance
Distinguished Jurist Panel
The Environment and Human Rights
The Impact of Human Rights Norms on the Law of Intellectual Property
The Role of Tort Law in Implementing Human Rights Norms
Human Rights Norms in the Context of an Armed Conflict and Security Issues
The Impact of a Wider Dissemination of Human Rights Norms: Fragmentation or Unity?

MCLE Credit

This program was approved for MCLE credit by The State Bar of California for 6.25 hours for Friday and 3.75 hours for Saturday. McGeorge School of Law certifies that this activity conformed to the standards for approved educational activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of The State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal education.

Symposium Documents