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.
We teach in small-group seminars where possible, allowing for an integrated, interactive learning experience. You are required to prepare for, and participate in, seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from them.
Written work on a legal topic of the your choice resulting from individual research and normally based upon material falling within the area covered by the degree for which you are registered.
Qualifying module options
An Uncensored History of International Law
This module consists of an examination of the major theoretical approaches to public international law and aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the diverse theoretical approaches to public international law and to discern the influence of these approaches on the practical development of public international law.
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 business 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 business.
Economic and Social Rights
This module begins 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. The module will consider litigation and judicial enforcement of ESR in various jurisdictions.
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 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 and defences 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
- 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 Law
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
- actors in the international legal system
- jurisdiction and state responsibility
Regional Human Rights Law
This module will expose students 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, Council of Europe (excluding the ECHR) and ASEAN 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 the right to life, children's rights and limitations on rights within the different 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.
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 and the right to family life, education, child soldiers, child labour, gender and the rights of the girl child.
Rights, Humans and Other Animals
This module covers:
- 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
United Nations Law
This module examines the international institutional law and general international law governing the United Nations, including the central organs (for example the Security Council and General Assembly), subsidiary organs (such as the UNEP and the UNDP), and the specialised agencies (for example, the WHO, UNESCO, ICAO).
- the UN's constitutional basis
- its legal personality and powers
- membership and budgetary matters
- representation and decision making
- sanctions regimes
- the UN's military options
- issues of responsibility, accountability and immunities
- the UN's contribution to the development and enforcement of international law
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
You will be assessed by examination or essay, or a combination of both. Assessments take place at the end of each 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.