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Human Rights


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Dr Frederick Cowell
  • Assessment: two 1500-word assignments (30% each) and an examination (40%)

Module description

A great paradox lies at the heart of human rights. They have become a dominant discourse after the end of the Cold War; but at the same time more human rights violations are committed today than ever before. In this module we will examine the contemporary significance of human rights in the UK and internationally.

First, you will learn about the complex contemporary systems of human rights instruments (UN and regional treaties, conventions and covenants) and mechanisms (UN treaty bodies, regional human rights courts). We will focus on specific rights issues, such as women's rights and social and economic rights, as well as examining the issues of cultural relativism and state compliance with human rights.

A leading human rights barrister will then lead a seminar examining the significance and impact of human rights law in the UK, drawing from his experience in extradition and other cases. You will engage with the ongoing debates concerning a possible Bill of Rights for Britain, repeal the Human Rights Act 1998, and the uneasy relationship between the UK and the Council of Europe, European Convention on Human Rights, and European Court of Human Rights.

This module will be of interest to anyone intending to practise law, anyone with an interest in the protection of human rights and anyone with an interest in working for an NGO.