International Human Rights Law - LW843

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
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7 20 (10) DR DS Dinsmore
(version 2)
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7 20 (10) PROF Y Arai







This module is designed to enable postgraduate students to obtain both essential knowledge of and critical insight into, issues relating to international human rights law. Human rights occupy an extremely important place in contemporary discussions about law, justice and politics at both the domestic and the international level. Across all spheres of government, bodies of law and, pretty much, in every single social mobilization, human rights are invoked and debated.

This module approaches the key place occupied by human rights in the contemporary world from an international perspective. The module aims to link the international origins of human rights and the main human rights systems, with the actual practice of human rights. Particular attention is paid in the module to the value, as well as the limits of human rights when they approach, or try to address the problems and the aspirations of five important 'subjects': the Citizen, the Refugee, the Cultural Subject, the Woman and the Poor.

The module is organized around lectures and seminars delivered by the convenor, as well as lectures given by invited guests speaker. Guest speakers will explore in their lectures how they have approached in their research and practice the five 'subjects' mentioned above (ie, the Citizen, the Refugee, the Cultural Subject, the Women and the Poor).

Emphasis is placed on maximum student participation during seminar discussions for which students will need to prepare. Students are encouraged to develop a critical perspective in light of historical and socio-economic backgrounds.

Similar to the module public international law, the teaching, discussions and readings in the module will equip students both with a doctrinal understanding of international human rights law, and with an approach to the field that is grounded in a Critical, Socio-Legal and Law and Humanities perspective.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

2 hours a week combined lecture/seminar excluding reading and writing weeks (18 weeks). The remaining 182 hours are dedicated to private study time. There are 200 study hours for the module.


Spring Term

Method of assessment

100% Coursework consisting of a 5,000 word essay (maximum).

Indicative reading

C Gearty & C Douzinas (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (CUP, 2012)
P Alston & R Goodman, International Human Rights (OUP, 2013)
A Bisset, Blackstone's International Human Rights Documents, 9th ed (OUP, 2014)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

This course is designed to enable LL.M. students to obtain comprehensive knowledge of general principles and case-law relating to international human rights law. By the completion of this module, students will be able:
- to demonstrate a systematic understanding of the main concepts, principles, doctrines and procedures of international human rights law
- to critically analyse the practice and theory of international human rights law
- to obtain critical perspectives of the theories of human rights
- to carry out independent research in those areas of international law.
- to apply the detailed and critical knowledge of the principles of international human rights law acquired to a variety of situations both in the universal and regional contexts;
- to appraise critically the application and functioning of international human rights law in different contexts while taking account of implications of diverse cultural values;
- to carry out research in the specific area of human rights law and analyse issues from a range of theoretical approaches;
- to acquire the ability to critically apply general theories and practice to specific areas of international human rights law;
- to communicate doctrinal debates and arguments concerning legal controversy and to formulate them in a lucid and well-informed argument.


Stage 1

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