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Business and Human Rights: Arbitration
Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

PILnet aims to provide participants with knowledge about arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution, and how these may affect the public interest and connect business and human rights.
Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

When lawyers talk about arbitration, they often mean contractual disputes between two private parties, typically corporations, and that are generally thought to not concern the public interest. Yet in recent years the scope of arbitration has greatly expanded. In the area of commercial arbitration, for example, it is now accepted that arbitrators have authority to determine not only claims pertaining to the formation, interpretation and performance of commercial contracts, but also statutory claims that may have crucial social implications.

In Russia, arbitration is used predominantly by foreign corporations and governments. However, a 2016 law made disputes concerning certain public purposes or involving state budget funding non-arbitrable, making this dispute mechanism unavailable for many contracts. In addition, and perhaps as a result, very few law schools in Russia teach arbitration except at the highest level of education. Yet, engaging in the process of arbitration in private-public matters is increasingly seen as an effective way to protect the interests of the general public. Because few lawyers in Russia, especially those with a public interest focus or mindset, are familiar with such processes, or even know how they can be used to protect or advance the interests of the general public, this course will aim to build that understanding and knowledge among legal professionals from an early stage.

The main purpose of the course is to provide participants with more knowledge about arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution, and how these may affect the public interest. In doing so, the online course will provide participants with more specific and high-level knowledge on arbitration and other dispute resolution tools.

Over four sessions, two per week for two weeks, the course will delve into the concept and purpose of various dispute resolution tools, including the differences between them, the extent and scope of any public interest features and outcomes in international arbitration, and applications of public interest law in dispute resolution matters. The course will also focus on practical skills on how to conduct hearings, manage cultural differences in negotiations, and compare best arbitration practices worldwide to Russian law to explore room for potential improvement. The course will give participants the tools to analyze real-life cases to identify facts critical to participants' arguments and develop a theory that will lead to an issue statement.

Conducted in English, the course consists of formal presentations , a combination of individual and collective exercises and opportunities to develop both theoretical and practical skills.

Course Outline

  • Session 1. Arbitration: how it works and how it potentially impacts the public interest.
  • Session 2. Russian legal framework for arbitration: Where can it be used and what is best practice from a public interest perspective
  • Session 3. International arbitration: Special considerations regarding its usefulness and potential risks
  • Session 4. The Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration: An avenue for redress and a standard for best practice


To view information on the speakers, click here.


New legal professionals, law students and recent law graduates, as well as public interest lawyers interested in public interest law are welcome to apply to join the course. Applicants with a legal background and familiarity with public interest law in Russia will be given preference. The course will be fully delivered in English, so participants are expected to be able to communicate in and understand English. As the source is discussion-based, participants need to be available to join each session live. The program will accept 20-25 participants.

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Enrollment in this course is by invitation only