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Module SXL-4042:
International Human Rights Law

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Alison Mawhinney

Overall aims and purpose

The objective is to provide students with a broad yet thorough understanding of International Human Rights Law, covering various aspects of theory, politics, law and practice.

Course content

Students taking International Human Rights Law will receive instruction in the theory, politics, law and international practice surrounding the concept of human rights, and learn about some of the many controversies. They will learn about how the human rights doctrine fits into the international order, and key legal concepts in human rights law such as exhaustion of domestic remedies, derogations and margins of appreciation. Students will learn about the visionary Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the system that it inspired. The course will provide students with a thorough understanding of the international and regional systems for protection of human rights. They will, for example, learn about the United Nations, its organs and component parts that deal with human rights. The plan is also to provide students with some knowledge about the substantive content of a number of selected rights. They will examine some of the many treaties which have been adopted under the auspices of the United Nations as well as various principles and bodies of rules which are not ‘hard law’ but of the ‘soft law’ category. Multimedia will be used, where possible. The approach taken in the course, with its combination of formal teaching, student participation with individual or group activities, and discussion, encourages critical thinking and reflection, as well the development of a global perspective. This will be a balanced course, with the essential elements of history, theory, politics, law and practice well covered.

Assessment Criteria

excellent

Displays mastery of a complex and specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing advanced skills to conduct research. Excellent work in this module will contain the qualities recognized in good work, but will show them in a more consistent way, and at all points. It will demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, much of which is at the forefront of this academic discipline. Work at this level shows a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research or to advanced scholarship. It shows throughout an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced in the work indicates that the student can critically evaluate advanced scholarship in the discipline, and do so in a consistent manner. The work shows an ability to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where, appropriate, propose hypotheses.

threshold

Displays ability within a specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing appropriate skills to conduct research. Work at threshold quality demonstrates an adequate knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, some of which is informed by thinking at the forefront of the academic discipline. Work at this level shows a developing understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research. It shows an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced by the work indicates that the student can evaluate scholarship in the field.

good

Displays accomplished ability within a specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing good quality skills to conduct research. Good work in this module will demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of current issues in this field of study. It shows a critical awareness of current problems, much of which is at, or informed by thinking at, the forefront of the academic discipline. Work at this level shows a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to the student’s own research. It shows an ability to apply knowledge in an original way, and to use established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline. The conceptual understanding evidenced in the work indicates that the student can evaluate advanced scholarship in the discipline. The work shows an ability to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where, appropriate, propose hypotheses.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a firm grasp of the fundamentals of the human rights doctrine, and the history, theory, politics and practice of the discipline, including its controversies.

  2. Master International Human Rights Law, as it is has evolved and is applied in international and regional systems of human rights promotion and protection, including the correct identification, critical analysis and correct application of the relevant primary and secondary, legal and non-legal materials in this area.

  3. Form a sophisticated understanding about the effectiveness of implementation mechanisms of international and regional systems.

  4. Formulate, investigate and refine suggestions for the development and/or reform of existing international standards and mechanisms.

  5. Assess critically areas of legal controversy and competing interpretations of the law.

  6. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the challenges that this area of the law has faced and will continue to face.

  7. Develop and employ enhanced research skills by using traditional library sources involving books, journals and case reports, modern electronic facilities such as online databases and internet resources and multimedia.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Written assignment 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 178
Seminar

International Human Rights Law will consist of 11 x 2 hour teaching blocks. Essential preparatory readings will be notified to students in advance or provided in advance of class. For each session, students will be expected to have prepared the essential reading together with any special assignments given for that particular class. Material for the course will be drawn from a range of primary sources of law, academic texts, reports, internet resources and visual media. Each week, the instructor will consolidate that initial foundational understanding with lecturing and explanation of complex issues of theory, law and practice and contextualise the teaching in discussions using concrete, real-life examples. Students will be expected to be able to engage in dialogue about substantive issues for each class, and be actively engaged in class activities (for example, individual or group presentations and activities) that will enhance their understanding.

22

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of basic principles, advanced level theories and explore the many traditional and contemporary challenges in International Law. They will receive a balanced education in the relevant law, theory, politics and practice.
  • Students will also acquire expertise within the particular programme on which they are enrolled. Careful guidance over optional module choices and close supervision of dissertations will ensure that the students fully develop expertise in the area of interest.
  • Students will be taught through a range of methods, balancing theory and practice, and aiming at developing critical thinkers able to respond to the intellectual and professional challenges facing contemporary International Lawyers.
  • Students will develop to become critical thinkers able to respond to the intellectual and professional challenges facing contemporary international lawyers.

Resources

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: