International Human Rights Law
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Alison Mawhinney
Overall aims and purpose
The purpose of the module is to explore the subject of international human rights law from a theoretical and practical perspective guiding students to a rich understanding of the law. It will aim to to offer both a sound exposition of the international human rights legal system and a contextual perspective of the realities in which the law is set and how various actors use it. The intention is to encourage students to go beyond theory and human rights jurisprudence and to reflect on the challenges faced in implementing human rights standards in a complex world.
The module will include but will not be limited to the following topics:
- Development of human rights and international human rights law
- The idea of human rights: theories and critiques
- Sources of international human rights law
- Nature of state obligations and scope of application
- Categories of rights: civil and political rights;economic, social and cultural rights
- Substantive rights: norms and scope
- UN human rights monitoring and protection systems
- Regional human rights treaty systems
As this module is open to MA students as well as LLM students, the content of the course may need to be adjusted according to the legal background of the students in the class in any given year.
A- to A* (70%+)
· Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and detailed understanding of the subject area.
· Demonstrate extensive background study.
· Be well structured and highly focused.
· Contain logically presented and defended arguments.
· Be free of factual/computational errors.
· Include significant elements of original interpretation.
· Demonstrate an ability to identify, develop and present new links between topics.
· Include new approaches to analysing and/or explaining a problem.
· Be presented to very high standards with very accurate communication.
C- to C+ (50-59%)
· Demonstrate knowledge of key areas/principles.
· Have some, if only limited, evidence of background study.
· Be focussed on the question with only some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure.
· Attempt to present relevant and logical arguments.
· Not contain a large number of factual errors.
· Describe major links between topics.
· Attempt to analyse and/or explain problems.
· Be free of major weaknesses in presentation and accuracy.
B- to B+ (60-69%)
· Demonstrate strong knowledge and understanding of most of the subject area.
· Demonstrate evidence of background study.
· Be well structured and focused.
· Contain coherently presented arguments.
· Be mostly free of factual errors.
· Include some elements of original interpretation.
· Describe well known links between topics.
· Analyse and/or explain problems using existing methods/approaches.
· Be presented to high standards with accurate communication.
Develop and employ enhanced research skills and methods of communication to effectively present the complexities of international human rights law to a range of audiences.
Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the development and functioning of the international human rights legal system, including the effectiveness of its monitoring and protection systems at a regional and international level.
Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the foundational concepts, principles and rules that underlie and structure international human rights law.
Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the theoretical and practical challenges that have faced international human rights law and which it will continue to face.
Engage effectively with primary legal materials and relevant scholarly literature to critically examine and evaluate decisions of international human rights bodies.
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Students choose a foundational international/regional human rights judgement and write an accurate yet accessible article aimed at a non-expert audience that presents and critically evaluates that decision.
The essay will require students to research and write an essay which critically analyses a topic in the field of international human rights law.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Individual preparation for seminars and preparation for assignments.
The module will be taught in 11x2hr weekly seminars.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- 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.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
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.
Resource implications for students
Materials listed in the seminar reading lists in the syllabus are available online and via the library, including the main textbook. If a new main textbook is required in the future, then consideration will be given to the cost of such a resource when making this decision as well as to its availability as a e-resource.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/sxl-4042.html
The main text book is available in hard-copy and electronic form from the library: Bantekas I and Oette L: International Human Rights Law and Practice (CUP).
A reading list for each seminar is provided in the syllabus drawing on materials available via the library catalogue.
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- M1AT: LLM International Criminal Law & Intl Human Rights Law year 1 (LLM/ICLHR)