Human Rights Law LLM

 

 
  

Fact file

Qualification
LLM Human Rights Law
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (or international equivalent) in law, humanities or social sciences
Other requirements
IELTS
7.0 (with no less than 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading and 6.0 in speaking and listening)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
September
Campus
University Park
School/department
Law
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.
 

Overview

With innovative module options, this course will expose you to the most exciting ideas and developments in international human rights law.
Read full overview

You will be provided with a thorough grounding in human rights law, as well as the opportunity to pursue more specialist interests such as economic and social rights, business and human rights, or imprisonment and human rights.

The School of Law has a particular strength in human rights law. Many academic staff are internationally recognised for their research in the area. They have advised governments, collaborated with various international organisations including the United Nations and the Council of Europe, and joined forces with NGOs in their human rights advocacy work. This blend of academic endeavour and practical work is often brought to the classroom, so you can see how human rights law can have an impact on the ground.

The school is also home to the Human Rights Law Centre, one of the world's most respected academic human rights institutions. It carries out its work through research, training, publications and capacity building, collaborating with governments, inter-governmental organisations, academics, students and civil society, alongside implementing programmes in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The centre is a focal point for student activity in human rights. It hosts an annual international student conference and human rights film series, as well as internship bursaries and research assistance opportunities.

Academic English preparation and support

Accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK, the University's Centre for English Language Education provides high-quality preparation and support.

Our presessional courses take your English language and academic skills to the level you need to progress to postgraduate study without taking IELTS again. A specialist 10-week law course is also available. 

Key facts

  • Consistently ranked among the world's top law schools, placing in the worldwide top 100 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
  • 81% of our research considered world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest Research Excellence Framework
  • 96.6% of law postgraduates in work or further study within six months of graduation
  • Dedicated resources including legal skills advice through workshops and one-to-one sessions, computer room, and law reading room in the Hallward Library
  • Links to leading firms in London and the regions, private industry and consultancies, and governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations across the UK and wider world
 

Course details

You will complete a minimum of 90 credits of specialist optional modules. The remaining 30 credits can be chosen from the full selection of optional modules available on the LLM programme. You will also undertake a 60-credit dissertation.

Guidance and support on choosing a human rights law dissertation topic and designing your project will be provided through bespoke workshops and one-to-one support.

Teaching

We teach in small-group seminars where possible, allowing for an integrated, interactive learning experience. You are encouraged and expected to prepare for, and participate in, seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from them.

Assessment

You will be assessed by examination or essay, or a combination of both. All assessments take place at the end of the spring term.

Practice assignments, guidance on exam techniques, time management workshops, and one-to-one legal skills advice sessions are offered throughout the academic year to prepare you for these assessments.

 
 

Modules

Qualifying module options

Business and Human Rights

This module considers how business increasingly conducts its operations with responsibility to its stakeholders and to society at large. It examines the emergence of the business and human rights regime, which forms the basis for addressing both legal developments and voluntary initiatives across a spectrum of business and industry sectors and different types of firms operating both globally and locally.

The module content is diverse and wide-ranging, and draws on case studies in order to foster knowledge about the impacts of business on human rights protection. It considers key issues in the current business and human rights regime, including states' obligation to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, human rights due diligence and access to remedy for human rights violations by corporations and other business entities.

 
Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice

This module explores a number of contemporary issues which have given rise to controversy within criminal justice processes with reference to different comparative models. A comparative method is employed to examine how these issues are treated across a range of different criminal justice systems.

 
Critical Issues in International Criminal Justice

This module builds upon the more conceptual and theoretical inquiries undertaken in Foundations of Criminal Justice by identifying emergent principles in the rapidly developing corpus of international criminal jurisprudence.

Consideration of the contribution of municipal legal systems to the pursuit of criminal justice in the international arena serves as a general introduction to the detailed doctrinal analysis of elements of crimes and defences, rules of evidence and procedure, and sentencing principles which comprises the bulk of the option.

Once identified and elaborated, rules and principles of international criminal law and procedure will be subjected to critical scrutiny, by drawing upon national and comparative legal perspectives, as well as general principles of international humanitarian law and the international law of human rights.

 
Detention and Imprisonment in the International Criminal Justice System

From the history of detention and imprisonment at the post-World War II International Military Tribunals, the course will progress to look at the penal regimes of the contemporary international criminal courts and tribunals, including the ICTY, ICTR, MICT, SCSL and ICC. 

You will learn about the systems for and conditions in international remand detention and analyse the complaints and disciplinary procedures and oversight mechanisms operating within these international facilities.

Seminars will be devoted to discussions about the various penalties international criminal courts can impose, and the reasons international judges give for their imposition. You will also learn about life for international prisoners post-conviction, through an exploration of the various systems used to enforce international sentences of imprisonment.

Seminars will look at the degree of control international courts retain over these sentences and their responsibility for international prisoners while they are housed in national prisons. This module will also look at the remedies that should be and are available for international prisoners whose human rights have been violated, and address the question of whether it is necessary, feasible or desirable to create an international prison system.

 
Economic and Social Rights

This module will open with a consideration of the historical origins and philosophical underpinnings of economic and social rights (ESR). Key themes that will be developed throughout the course include perceptions of the nature of such rights and the related question of the extent to which such rights are, and should be, justiciable. You will evaluate the different ways in which ESR are protected and implemented, both domestically and internationally (eg by considering international and regional ESR frameworks, the role of NHRI, tribunals and other mechanisms by which ESR are given effect to).

The module will consider litigation and judicial enforcement of ESR in jurisdictions such as South Africa, Argentina, Colombia, India, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, the UK and the United States, as appropriate. Specific substantive ESR will be addressed in dedicated module sessions (for instance, the rights to adequate housing and health). Ultimately, the module will equip you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to engage in, and critically analyse, the debates surrounding ESR that exist both amongst legal commentators and at a broader societal level.

 
The European Convention on Human Rights

The module covers articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), together with the procedural provisions of the ECHR.

 
Imprisonment and Human Rights

This module covers:

  • human rights in prison
  • place of imprisonment in the penal system
  • conditions of imprisonment
  • medical treatment of prisoners
  • the prison regime and rights
  • civil rights of prisoners
  • security, order and discipline
  • external control and supervision
  • release of prisoners
  • the future of imprisonment
 
International and Comparative Penal Law and Human Rights

This module covers:

  • the development of international human rights law applicable to punishment
  • sentencing principlies and international standards
  • human rights as sentencing principles
  • corporal punishment
  • the death penalty
  • life imprisonment
  • indeterminate sentences
  • community sanctions
  • victims of crime and the penal process
  • sentencing and punishment in international courts and tribunals
 
International Criminal Evidence

This module explores the strengths and weaknesses of different models of proof in both domesticand international criminal justice systems and the extent to which an international consensus is emerging around the principles of evidence and proof.

 
International Criminal Law

An introduction to international criminal law issues, with particular emphasis on institutions (such as Nuremberg and Tokyo IMTs, the ad hoc Tribunals and the International Criminal Court) as well as substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law.

The module focuses on the institutional developments in international criminal law as well as the definition and application of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Principles of liability, defences and elements of international criminal procedure will also be covered.

 
International Human Rights Law

This module will introduce you to the law and practice related to international human rights. You will be encouraged to explore the foundations of international human rights law. The global, regional and national mechanisms of human rights protection will be introduced and evaluated. A selection of substantive human rights will be examined and contemporary challenges to human rights protection will be discussed.

 
International Humanitarian Law

This module examines the legal constraints of international and national warfare. It traces the historical and contextual development of the law and focuses upon the principles which govern warfare. During the module, you will also study the mechanisms for the enforcement and the implementation of international humanitarian law.

 
Law, Development and the International Community

This module examines some of the relationships between law and development. After examining both the notion of development per se and the right to development as a human right, the module moves on to cover a number of individual issues where the relationship between law, development and human rights can be explored.

Subjects covered include:

  • the concept of development and the role of international law in promoting "development"
  • the regulation of aid
  • the WTO and developing countries
  • intellectual property and access to medication
  • the protection of traditional knowledge
  • agriculture
  • food aid and food security
  • sustainable development
  • gender and development
 
Mental Disability and International Human Rights

This module will examine the application of international human rights law, including both relevant UN conventions and the European Convention on Human Rights and its jurisprudence, to persons with mental disabilities.

 
Minorities and International Human Rights

The module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the application of international law standards to minorities and indigenous peoples. There is a strong focus on the decisions of international and European courts and international human rights bodies.

 
Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and Criminal Justice

A broadly-based introduction to the philosophical foundations of human rights and criminal justice, emphasising the moral and political underpinnings of legal rules, doctrines and principles.

The module first tackles perennial conceptual and methodological issues relating to the nature of "philosophical" inquiry and the challenges of scepticism. Thereafter, the model reconsiders key issues and questions in contemporary debates surrounding human rights and criminal justice through the contrasting lenses of two rival philosophical perspectives, utilitarianism and liberal deontology.

 
Principles of Public International Law

The module is primarily concerned with those customary and treaty rules governing relations between States. This module aims to give candidates a thorough grounding in the principles of PIL. The basic topics include: nature of international law, sources, actors in the international legal system, jurisdiction and state responsibility.

 
The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law

Following a review of the history of international refugee law, the course focuses on the legal context of forced displacement today, including the rights and obligations of States and the rights of individuals. The 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees are reviewed, with due regard also to human rights protection. Who is a refugee, and how decisions are made, are examined with reference to key terms, such as persecution, race, religion, political opinion and social group, and in light of selected contemporary issues, such as conscientious objection to military service, women refugees, flight from conflict, security, terrorism, and 'exclusion'.

The course also considers the legal standing of currently contested issues, such as the right to seek asylum, the principle of non-refoulement, procedural standards, the responsibility to determine asylum claims, and extra-territorial measures of interception. Examples from different jurisdictions and the practice of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are used to focus attention on the adequacy of existing international mechanisms, particularly in the face of the challenges presented by migration, human smuggling, trafficking, internal displacement, complex emergencies (including protracted conflict) and humanitarian assistance.

 
Regional Human Rights Law

This module will expose you to how human rights are protected in regional human rights law. In doing so, it will focus on the standards and mechanisms related to the Inter-American, African, ASEAN and Council of Europe (excluding the ECHR) regional human rights systems. Having addressed the evolution of the specific systems, as well as their key institutions, the course will focus on a number of substantive rights areas from a critical comparative perspective. These will include migrant rights, children's rights and limitations on rights within the different systems.

The module will cover both the 'theory' and the 'practice' of regional human rights protection. In addition to looking at standards and mechanisms, you will consider the challenges posed in the different regions to the effective realisation of (some or all) human rights. This will include an examination of issues such as regional social and cultural attitudes, as well as logistical issues such as the limited enforcement powers and poor resourcing of some regional human rights systems.

 
Religion and International Human Rights

The module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the application of international law standards to religion. There is a strong focus on the decisions of international and European courts and international human rights bodies.

 
Rights, Humans and Other Animals

This module covers:

  • the changing perspectives on the status and treatment of animals
  • developments in the field of protection of the human person
  • philosophical foundations of human rights and applicability to other species
  • the current regime governing the protection of animals under international law
  • the notion of rights and implications of its extension to other species
 
The Rights of the Child

The module will explore the rights of the child in international human rights law, focusing on topics such as the concepts of childhood and the best interests of the child, family rights, education, child soldiers, child labour, the punishment of children, and the economic social and cultural rights of the child.

 

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Funding

Funding information is available on the school website and can also be found on the Graduate School website.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.

 
 

Careers

Our graduates move into a wide range of careers. Many go into the legal profession or return to their previous legal careers with specialist knowledge and enhanced prospects. Others successfully seek employment with international organisations as well as international and local NGOs.

Some graduates further their academic career by progressing onto our PhD programme. These students often choose to stay at the University of Nottingham beyond their doctorate, with a number of academics becoming members of staff after completing their LLM/masters and PhD with us.

With an advanced law degree from the University of Nottingham, you will be well-placed to pursue your career ambitions and realise your goals.

Employability and average starting salary

96.6% of postgraduates from the School of Law who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £23,214 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £32,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.

 
 
 
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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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