Human Rights and English Law - LAWS5090

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Sian Lewis checkmark-circle


This module seeks to provide a sound knowledge and understanding of the concepts and principles underlying the law relating to human rights, including a grounding in the historical development and political philosophy of human rights law; to provide a detailed grasp of the current protection of human rights in English law, with particular reference to the Human Rights Act 1998 and European Convention on Human Rights; and to promote a critical discussion about the nature, function and effects of human rights as they have been, are, ought to and/or might be expressed in English law.


Contact hours

The module is allocated 300 hours of study
Contact hours: 40
Private study hours: 260


All Law Programmes

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

The module will be assessed by 20% Coursework and 80% Exam as follows:
• Essay worth 20% of 2,000 words
• Exam worth 80% of 3 hours

Reassessment methods

The module will be reassessed by like-for-like reassessment of failed individual components of assessment.

Indicative reading

Dworkin, R, Freedom's Law, 1996, Oxford University Press.

Harris, J, The Value of Life, 1997, Routledge.

Hart, H.L.A, The Concept of Law, 2nd ed, 1994, Clarendon.

Hobbes, T, Leviathan, 2008, Oxford Paperbacks.

The Levellers, The Putney Debates, Geoffrey Robertson (Introduction), 2007, Verso.

Locke, J, Two Treatises on Civil Government, 1924, Dent (and other editions)

Malik, K, What is it to be human?, 2001, Institute of Ideas.

Mill, J.S, On Liberty (1859) and The Subjection of Women (1869), 2006, Penguin Classics.

Riddall, J.G, Jurisprudence, 2nd ed, OUP, 2005

White, R.C.A, and Ovey,C, Jacobs, White & Ovey: The European Convention on Human Rights, 2010, OUP.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of key aspects of the relationship between human rights and English law including both the
historical development of, and contemporary claims and contestations involving human rights in the context of both international and
domestic law
2. Critically evaluate those claims and contestations and reach reasoned judgments including the identification of a solution or a range of
solutions to conflicting interests, in particular those arising from the operation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human
Rights Act 1998
3. Demonstrate an awareness of the legal and political consequences of framing social and political issues in terms of human rights
4. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate and deploy a broad range of legal, political and philosophical authorities to support and underpin their
5. Critically discuss the nature, function and effects of human rights as they have been, are, ought to and/or might be expressed in English law
6. Demonstrate engagement and critical evaluation in the context of rights and freedoms including, but not limited to the right to life, the right to
liberty of the person, privacy, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned argument in written assessment

2. critically identify and evaluate legal and policy problems according to their historical, political and legal context
3. summarise detailed historical and conceptual material, recognizing different positions that are taken in the literature surveyed
4. demonstrate an appreciation of the legal forms that arise and operate within complex historical and political conditions
5. demonstrate an awareness of the economic, political and/or social implications of legal forms and remedies


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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