International Human Rights Law in Context - LAWS6440

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Eric Loefflad checkmark-circle


The module will examine the evolution, principles, institutions and functions of international human rights law in their political, social and economic contexts. It will provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of human rights law through critical study and analysis of key theoretical perspectives and debates. The module will enable students to consider the relevance, or otherwise, of international human rights law to historical and/or contemporary challenges and to critically assess its limitations and effects.


Contact hours

Total Study Hours: 150
Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130

Method of assessment

Main Assessment Methods

This module is assessed by 100% coursework consisting of one essay, 3,500 words.

Reassessment Methods

The module will be reassessed by a reassessment instrument (i.e. 100% coursework). The reassessment will re-test all of the module learning outcomes.

Indicative reading

• Bantekas and Oette, International Human Rights Law and Practice, 2nd Edition (CUP, 2016)
• Bhambra and Shilliam, Silencing Human Rights: Critical Engagements with a Contested Project (Macmillan, 2009)
• Bisset, Blackstone's International Human Rights Documents (OUP, 2014)
• Dembour, Who Believes in Human Rights? (Cambridge, 2006)
• Douzinas, Human Rights and Empire: the Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism (Routledge, 2007)
• Gearty and Douzinas, The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (CUP, 2012)
• Ishay, The History of Human Rights (University of California Press, 2004)
• Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Harvard, 2012)
• Mutua, Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002)
• Roberts, The Contentious History of the International Bill of Human Rights (CUP, 2015)
• Shelton (ed), Oxford Handbook of International Human Rights Law (OUP, 2013)
• Smith, Textbook on International Human Rights Law (OUP, 2013)

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. Critically review the origins, development and current key debates on human rights in international law drawing on evidence from a range
of sources.
2. Critically evaluate the central principles and institutions of international and regional human rights frameworks in the contemporary global,
political, economic and social context.
3. Appreciate the limits of international human rights law by applying and analysing different theoretical perspectives and critical concerns.
4. Apply international human rights law to issues of historical or contemporary concern.

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

1. Engage in independent legal research.
2. Develop and sustain a complex legal argument.
3. Practically apply legal knowledge to complex issues.
4. Analyse the application of law within its different theoretical, historical, political, social and economic contexts.


  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.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.