|Module Title||CIVIL LIBERTIES AND HUMAN RIGHTS|
|Co-ordinator||Miss Katherine Williams|
|Semester||Intended for use in future years|
|Next year offered||N/A|
|Next semester offered||N/A|
|Other staff||Ms Francoise Jarvis|
|Course delivery||Lecture||40 Hours One two and two one hour lectures per week|
|Seminar||8 Hours Four two hour seminars during the semester|
|Assessment||Essay||Assessed essay of 3000 words required in Week 9||50%|
|Resit assessment||By retaking the failed element (ie written assignment or examination or both, as applicable)|
|Professional Exemptions||Not Required for Professional Purposes|
From the American Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson (1776). The origins of human rights can be traced back to very early jurisprudential and other philosophical theories. The basis may be in natural law, as suggested above, or it could be associated with being human whereby every person has the right to what is necessary for an autonomous and dignified life. This course will begin by studying rights theorists, what is meant by human rights and where they come from. It considers why human rights should constitute a legitimate constraint on the acts, desires and will of the powerful. The course will consider some of the rights theories to lay the basis for an understanding of the concepts around which human rights are built and to be a standard against which to test the international and national rights provisions.
'...recognition of the inherent dignity and of equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,'
Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
The subject is very wide: it includes civil and political rights; economic and social rights; cultural rights; the rights of indigenous peoples; as well as the rights of specific groups. It covers issues which arise in daily life and about which legislatures, courts and law-enforcement officials make decisions every day. How important is freedom of expression? Should it be respected even when the contents is offensive? Is privacy worthy of protection and if so how is it defined? In reflecting on rights we will look at when they begin and end and at who enjoys rights? Do members of minority groups enjoy the same liberties as others in the society? Are rights the preserve of the individual or should they also be enjoyed by groups? The course studies British law in the light of both the works of legal theorists and the internationally won standards of Human Rights, it will pay particular attention to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. We will study the way in which international law interplays with state laws and with theoretical analysis of rights.
Balancing the rights of the individual and the powers of the state as well as the conflicting rights of individuals in a state has been one of the most difficult problems for any society to solve. Often one persons enjoyment of rights leads to the violation of the rights of others. Restraint in the exercise of state power may increase one groups liberties at the expense of the liberties of others, for example, to allow a peaceful march interferes with the use of the highway by others whereas to prevent it interferes with freedom of expression. People are constantly searching for an acceptable balance between these often conflicting positions.
The course will introduce students to rights theorists and international norms as well as to critical legal and social analyses of the status quo so as to equip them with the materials necessary to a full and intellectual discussion of the subject. Students will be encouraged to read widely and critically. The method of teaching is designed to help students to explore, debate and come to independent assessments of the role of law in the creation of a society in which human freedoms are increased. We will not arrive at absolute answers and there will always be room for discussion and disagreement. The course is designed to give students an awareness of and an ability to compare and critically analyse liberties and legal rights. It is not intended merely to get students to learn tracts of information but rather to teach them which are the important questions to ask and how to approach finding solutions. For example it is less important that they learn the date of the last reforms to the public order controls than that they understand the rights issues involved in the debate and the problems to which such an analysis gives rise. It is important that students are able to question and analyse and that they are able to find information when this is necessary. The course is specifically designed to teach the skills necessary to achievement of these aims.
Ability to locate relevant materials and to sift useful information from a range of sources.
Knowledge and understanding of the laws, policies and theories which shape rights theories both nationally and internationally.
An understanding of the importance of the sociology of the state to the success or failure of rights guaranteed in law.
A willingness and ability to analyse data and discussions and to produce a well constructed argument.
To broaden the experience of students in a wide range of cultural and international approaches to law and rights.
To encourage debate and enhance the confidence of students in their own powers of reasoning and in presenting a logical argument.
To study and question the effectiveness of law.
B. PARAMETERS OF RIGHTS
C. GROUP RIGHTS AND DISCRIMINATION
D. CONSTITUTIONAL SAFEGUARDS
1) Internal. 2) External.
F. LIMITS ON RIGHTS
1) Limits in the ECHR - Art. 15 and the second paragraph to articles 8-11
G. FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
H. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
I. DISOBEDIENCE IN A DEMOCRACY
J. PRIVACY AND FAMILY LIFE