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Study information

Human Rights Law

Module titleHuman Rights Law
Module codeLAW1028C
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Elif Ceylan Ozsoy (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Human rights law determines how far states can legitimately interfere in our freedoms, what happens when the rights of two individuals clash, and how different interests in society are balanced. This module aims to equip you with a deeper understanding of human rights law. The module will introduce you to the legal protection of human rights in the UK within its wider international, political, social and philosophical context. Acknowledging the racialised, gendered, human, and state-centric nature of modern human rights law and its class dimensions, the module goes beyond the doctrinal application of laws, and will enable you to analyse those laws through a critical lens. The module also touches upon the contemporary developments and challenges in the field of human rights law.


This module is one of the seven foundations of legal knowledge required by the Bar Standards Board and it is therefore compulsory for all who wish to progress onto the vocational stage of training to become a barrister. Students interested in becoming solicitors under the Solicitors Qualifying Examination route should also take this module. The module is available to students on interdisciplinary pathways and Flexible Combined Honours students.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to enable you to develop:


  • an understanding of the philosophical, political and legal aspects of human rights within a wider international context;
  • an understanding of international (eg United Nations), regional (eg Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights) and national human rights systems, and the interplay between them;
  • an understanding of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights;
  • an understanding of the balance created between the UK’s constitutional arrangements, common law rights, and the Human Rights Act 1998.;
  • an understanding of the provisions of human rights, and developing case law;
  • an understanding of the different types and categories of rights, and their scopes;
  • an ability to critically analyse the human rights protection in the UK;
  • an ability to begin to use, analyse and critique materials and texts; and
  • an ability to articulate and discuss issues relating to human rights law in their philosophical, social, political and legal context.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate sound knowledge of human rights law and a range of major concepts, principles and values relevant to their application;
  • 2. identify and discuss the application of human rights law within their philosophical, social, political and context and their national and international application;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. use the IRAC method in legal writing at a foundational level
  • 4. explain andapply legal concepts and their contextual, philosophical, social, political implications.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. identify, retrieve and efficiently use a range of primary and secondary resources with some guidance;
  • 6. demonstrate effective and accurate written communication skills in a manner appropriate to the discipline/different contexts;
  • 7. demonstrate the ability to work independently, communicate your knowledge in writing within a given time frame

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:

  • Philosophical and political theories about human rights
  • International and national developments that led to the creation of modern human rights law
  • Human rights systems outside of Europe
  • Human rights in Europe
  • Common law rights and the Human Rights Act 1998/European Convention on Human Rights
  • ECHR rights including
    • Right to life (Article 2)
    • Prohibition of torture (Article 3)
    • Prohibition of slavery (Article 4)
    • Personal liberty (Article 5)
    • Right to a fair trial (Article 6) 
    • Right to respect for private life (Article 8)
    • Right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion (Article 9)
    • Freedom of expression (Article 10) 
    • Freedom to assembly and association (Article 11)
    • Freedom from discrimination (Article 14)
    • Contemporary developments and challenges in the field of human rights

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities1010 x 1-hour synchronous weekly lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities1510 x 1.5 teacher-led seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2.5Hack lectures and writing workshops
Guided Independent Study57Preparation for scheduled learning and teaching sessions, including pre-reading and the completion of learning activities. Individual reading
Guided Independent Study1111 x 1-hour peer-led firm meetings
Guided Independent Study54.5Assessment preparation and writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Weeks 2-6 learning portfolio900 words1-7Oral tutor feedback
Group problem scenario500 words1-7Oral and written self, peer and tutor feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Coursework Learning Portfolio Section 125900 words1-7Individual written feedback, with supplementary oral feedback available. General comments given in a lecture or on ELE.
Coursework Learning Portfolio Section 2751550 words1-7Individual written feedback, with supplementary oral feedback available. General comments given in a lecture or on ELE.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Coursework Learning Portfolio (2450 words)Coursework Learning Portfolio (2450 words)1-7August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


Amos,M (2014) Human Rights Law (2nd edn Hart Publishing).

Davis H (2021) Human Rights Directions(5th edn OUP).

Smith R.K.M (2017) International Human Rights Law (9th edn OUP).

Rainey B,McCormick P and Ovey C (2020) The European Convention on Human Rights (8th edn OUP).

Pateman C (1988) The Sexual Contract(Polity Press).

Mills C (1997) The Racial Contract (Cornell University Press).

Douzinas C (2000) The End of Human Rights (Hart Publishing).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

You are expected to keep up to date with topical events. This is best done by reading newspapers such as The Times, The Guardian, The Independent or The Telegraph. You may also find recent and current editions of specialist journals, such as Public Law and Modern Law Review, which are available digitally in the Law Library, useful for this purpose.

Key words search

Public law, human rights, European law, international human rights law

Credit value15
Module ECTS


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date