Non-credit Course: Coercion and Labour Exploitation before Courts

In Hilary Term 2023 the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights will be offering a non-credit course in developing strategies for the protection and promotion of human rights with a focus on litigation that challenges structures of coercion and exploitation of vulnerable workers. Over the last few years, cases concerning systematic and structural aspects of trafficking, slavery and forced labour, and the structural factors and policies leading to such forms of exploitation, were considered in various jurisdictions and at various levels (domestic and regional courts) around the world.  

This seminar series hosts academics and practitioners to consider the potential of such proceedings and strategies that helped to protect workers and enforce their rights, but also the limitations of such human rights litigation.  

The seminars will cover different geographical regions and contexts in the global North and the global South, and include contributions from practitioners and researchers. Some of the topics to be discussed:  

  • Challenging bonded labour and protecting workers before Indian courts; 

  • Exploitation and child slavery in supply chains and potential remedies from courts in the global North: lessons from the US Nestle v Doe case; 

  • Migration policy, victims’ rights and extreme exploitation before the European Court of Human Rights; 

  • Changes and challenges to tied visa regimes: lessons from Israel’s Supreme Court. 

Each seminar will be led by leading human rights lawyers and researchers from a different jurisdiction. The seminars will involve presentations on specific cases of strategic human rights litigation, and discussions with experts about the cases, the strategy chosen and its outcome, as well as a comparison with other cases or examples. 

A limited number of 15 places is available. 

There will be no formal mode of assessment but students who are admitted to the course will be expected to attend every seminar and to read background material, especially relevant cases. Students will be encouraged to write short case notes on the case discussed, and will be offered advice and feedback.  

Convenor: Dr Maayan Niezna, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Modern Slavery and Human Rights at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights 

Coordination: Professor Freya Baetens, Head of Programmes of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights 


Tuesday 24 January 2-4pm  

Tuesday 7 February 4-6pm (please note the different time) 

Tuesday 21 February 2-4pm 

 Tuesday 7 March 2-4pm  

Delivery: Hybrid. Seminars will take place at the Gilly Leventis Meeting Room at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Mansfield College, but some speakers will be presenting online. Students are expected to attend in person. 

Profile of Participants 

  • Graduate and undergraduate law students; Master of Public Policy students at the Blavatnik School of Government; graduate students from other Faculties with a previous law degree or demonstrated experience in human rights. 

  • Demonstrated interest in human rights. 

  • Availability: Participants must commit to attending all four sessions. It will also be expected that students have read any preparatory reading material sent out in advance. 

To apply: 

 Please send a letter setting out why you would like to participate in this course and how it fits with your degree programme or relevant experience, together with your CV to by 16 January 2023.  

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