LAW8139 : International Human Rights Law

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module aims:

•       To provide in-depth doctrinal understanding of theories relating to the protection of human rights and how these have influenced the international legal protection of the individual

•       To provide comprehensive understanding of international human rights protection in peace and in war

•       To critically consider the often tensed relationship between the individual, the state and international organisations in a contemporary context

•       To provide critical examination of international mechanisms of human rights protection with focus on the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe as well as international/regional courts such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the African Court of Human Rights

•       To enable critique on the constantly evolving relationship between national and international law in human rights protection

•       To consider the impact of factors such as extraterritoriality and the margin of appreciation as well as consent, equality, sovereignty and non-interference on human rights protection

•       To consider a selection of substantive civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights such as the right to life, freedom from torture, freedom of religion, the right to food

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Theories on human rights: Natural law, the Leviathan, Universalism and Cultural Relativism

•       The individual as a subject of international law and international human rights in the aftermath of World War II

•       Limitations to human rights protection

•       International organisations empowered to protect human rights: UN, Council of Europe, OSCE

•       International/regional courts on human rights: European Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Court of Human Rights and African Court of Human Rights

•       Civil and political rights

•       Social, cultural and economic rights

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching82:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study801:0080:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The seminars will be inter-active and they will require advance preparation. This teaching method aims to promote analytical, argumentative and critical skills essential for discourse. The learning method will rely on directed self-study for the contact teaching time as well as independent study for further in-depth understanding of concepts and issues to be discussed at seminars.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A1003000 word essay or problem question.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1M10-15 minutes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The coursework will provide students an opportunity to demonstrate comprehensive understanding of issues under consideration, application of such knowledge on complex problem and theoretical questions, critical judgment, and breadth of knowledge of relevant primary and secondary sources.

Reading Lists