International Human Rights Law - Distance Learning


Programme fact file

Programme title: International Human Rights Law - Distance Learning
Qualification: CPD Units
Start date: Intake throughout the year
Duration: Students take four modules, one at a time; individual modules last eight weeks
Maximum places available: Unlimited

£1,400 (distance learning only)
£1,550 (distance learning plus Study Weekend)
£1,900 (distance learning plus Summer School)

The fee for a single module is £375
Available on weekends/evenings: Yes

School of Law, Human Rights Law Centre

Programme overview

Course description

This distance learning course is designed to give an in-depth understanding of international human rights standards and the UN and regional systems that implement them. The course has both theoretical and practical dimensions, with an emphasis upon issues such as counter-terrorism and human rights; cultural relativity, Islam and human rights; sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights.


This course is intended for those who are unable to undertake a full-time, residential course. Modules are offered throughout the year and offer flexibility of choice and time management.

The course offers a special rate for attendance at the Human Rights Law Centre's Summer School on the Rights of the Child held at The University of Nottingham in June.

Course tutors

David Harris

David Harris, Emeritus Professor and Co-Director, Human Rights Law Centre

As a former member of the European Committee of Social Rights, David Harris has served as a human rights law consultant or trainer for the United Nations; the Council of Europe; the European Union; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; the UK Department for International Development and the Irish Human Rights Commission. He was formerly a member of the Committee of Independent Experts of the European Social Charter.


David has lectured or given conference papers in many countries, including China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, the US and various other European countries.

He has advised governments on human rights law and has served as General Rapporteur, First Conference of the Presidents of Supreme Courts in Europe; Consultant Expert on Administrative Law for the European Committee on Legal Co-operation; Member of the UK Judicial Studies Board Committee on the Human Rights Act; Co-Chair of the EU-Indonesian Human Rights Dialogue; and Expert for the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue. He was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for his services to human rights.

David Harris's academic writings include:

  • Harris, Cases and Materials on International Law; Harris, O'Boyle and Warbrick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • Harris, The European Social Charter; Bailey, Harris and Jones, Civil Liberties: Cases and Materials; Burchill, Harris and Owers, eds., Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Their Implementation in the UK
  • Harris and Livingstone, eds., The Inter-American System of Human Rights; Harris and Joseph, eds., The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and UK Law
  • Gomien, Harris and Zwaack, Law and Practice of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter; Harris and Shepherd, eds., An Index of British Treaties
  • Harris and Bowman, eds., Multilateral Treaties: Index and Current Status

He is also the editor of the Human Rights Law Review, the International Human Rights Reports and the Yearbook of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and was formerly the editor of Garner, Encyclopaedia of Environmental Law. He is a member of the editorial board of academic law journals.



Professor Dominic McGoldrick

Dominick McGoldrick, Professor of International Human Rights Law and Co-Director, Human Rights Law Centre

Professor Dominic McGoldrick is a specialist in human rights law. Since 2012 he has been Professor of International Human Rights teaching new LLM modules on 'Religion and International Human Rights' and on 'Minorities and International Human Rights Law'.

Prior to this, he was Professor of Public International Law and was formerly the Director of the International and European Law Unit, University of Liverpool. In 1999-2000 he was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar and a Human Rights Fellow at the Harvard Law School. He has a particular interest in issues concerning human rights and religion, such as the use of Sharia law and Muslim veiling controversies in Europe.


McGoldrick, D. 2012. Religion and Legal Spaces: In Gods We Trust; In Churches We Trust, But Need To Verify Human Rights Law Review. 12(4), 759-86

McGoldrick, D., 2011. Religion in the European public square and in European public life - crucifixes in the classroom? Human Rights Law Review. 11(3), 451-502

McGoldrick, D., 2010. The boundaries of justiciability International and Comparative Law Quarterly. 59(4), 981-1019

McGoldrick, D., 2009. Accommodating Muslims in Europe: from adopting Sharia law to religiously based opt outs from generally applicable laws Human Rights Law Review. 9(4), 603-645

McGoldrick, D. 2009. State Identity and Genocide: The Bosnian Genocide Case. In: Kaikobad K, Bohlander M, ed., International Law and Power: Perspectives on Legal Order and Justice Brill. 255-303

McGoldrick, D., 2008. Terrorism and human rights paradigms: the United Kingdom after 11 September 2001. In: Bianchi, A. and Keller, A., eds., Counterterrorism: democracy's challenge Hart. 111-231


Programme detail

Course details

The course is taught by human rights academics and practitioners in international human rights and humanitarian law. The academic convenor is HRLC Co–Director Professor Emeritus David Harris, a former member of the European Committee of Social Rights and author of books on the UN, European and Inter-American human rights law.

Students take four modules, one at a time. Each lasts for eight weeks. The modules are:

  • UN Human Rights System - core module
  • Regional Human Rights Systems (African, European and Inter-American)
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Refugee Law
  • International Criminal Justice
  • Current Human Rights Issues
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • The Rights of the Child
  • Women's Rights

Centre details

The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) was established in 1993 to conduct human rights research in post-Soviet Russia and provide training to the judiciary and law enforcement agencies across the former territories.

Since these early projects, the centre's commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and the establishment and strengthening of the rule of law worldwide has grown to accommodate the key human rights challenges experienced in our increasingly globalised world.

The centre is part of the University's School of Law and benefits from collaboration with an international network of members and fellows.

School details

The School of Law is consistently ranked amongst the leading law schools in the United Kingdom. We are a world-ranked centre for legal research and teaching and have been rated as excellent in both areas.

Our staff are internationally recognised in their fields and are active scholars and teachers.


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