LL4C2      Half Unit
World Poverty and Human Rights

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Margot Salomon


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Political Science (Global Politics) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

No pre-requisites but some knowledge of public international law is helpful.

This course has a limited number of places and demand is typically high. This may mean that you’re not able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This course examines world poverty and inequality through the regime of international law aimed at the protection of human rights. It unpacks the duties of states and non-state actors and the ways in which they may be implicated in the deprivation that has 2.7 billion people concentrated in the South, and many in the North, unable to exercise even their minimum essential levels of human rights. The course is interested in studying conceptual, normative, and critical approaches to human rights and will draw on literature that situates human rights and development in broader interdisciplinary and structural contexts. It will explore the role of international actors and institutions that impact positively or negatively on human rights today, as well as examine global developments and the application of legal standards to some areas of outstanding concern.

Topics to be covered may include:

  • Poverty as a human rights issue
  • Human rights and development
  • The right to development and claims against the public international order 
  • The scope, content and limits of the obligation of international cooperation
  • Human rights, the World Bank and IMF
  • Human rights and international trade, investment, and finance
  • Interrogating the Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Pandemic and international law


This course will have two hours of teaching content each week in Winter Term and an additional two hours of teaching in the Spring Term. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Winter Term.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

G. Abi-Saab, 'The Legal Formulation of the Right to Development', in R-J Dupuy (ed), The Right to Development at the International Level, Hague Academy of International Law (1980)

B.S. Chimni, ‘International Institutions Today: An Imperial Global State in the Making’ European Journal of International Law (2004)

C. Chinkin, 'The United Nations Decade for the Elimination of Poverty: What Role for International Law?' 54 Current Legal Problems (2001)

A. Eide, 'Human Rights-Based Development in the Age of Economic Globalization' in B.A. Andreassen and S.P. Marks (eds), Development as a Human Right: Legal, Political and Economic Dimensions (2010)

M.E. Salomon, Global Responsibility for Human Rights: World Poverty and the Development of International Law (2007)

R. Danino, 'The Legal Aspects of the World Bank's Work on Human Rights' in P. Alston and M. Robinson (eds), Human Rights and Development (2005)

P. Muchlinski, ‘Holistic Approaches to Development and International Investment Law: The Role of International Investment Agreements’ in J. Faundez and C. Tan (eds), International Law, Economic Globalization and Development (2010)

Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2011)

M.E. Salomon, ‘Of Austerity, Human Rights and International Institutions’ European Law Journal (2015)

Report of the UN Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of states on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social, and cultural rights: Mission to Greece’ UN Doc A/HRC/31/60/Add2 (29 Feb 2016)

O.C. Okafor, ‘The Bandung Ethic and International Human Rights Praxis: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ in L. Eslava, M. Fakhri and V. Nesiah (eds) Bandung, Global History, and International Law (2017)

J. Linarelli, M.E. Salomon and M. Sornarajah, The Misery of International Law: Confrontations with Injustice in the Global Economy (2018).

A detailed reading list will be issued at the first seminar.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: 18

Average class size 2022/23: 19

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills