Module Identifier LA30510  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Miss Katherine S Williams  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Other staff Ms Ann P Sherlock, Professor Ryszard W Piotrowicz  
Pre-Requisite LA10110 , LA11010  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours Two one hour lectures per week  
  Seminars / Tutorials   4 Hours Four one hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam1.5 Hours  75%
Semester Assessment One assessed essay or an assignment of 1000 words (written work required in week 12 of semester one)  25%
Professional Exemptions Not Required for Professional Purposes  

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should be able to:
Achieve an in depth knowledge of the major theoretical discussions of rights.
Analyse and critique the differences between and points of convergence of human rights theories.
Analyse and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the existing theories and in particular analyse their limits and their ability to encompass the `difficult cases? thrown up in human rights practice.
Explain and analyse the national and international institutions and the ways in which they operate and interact.
Explain and analyse the remedies available from the various institutions.
Identify problems in the structure of human rights provisions and suggest possible solutions.

In addition to these intellectual skills, students will be able to demonstrate:
Enhanced capacity for independent and critical thought.
Good time-management skills in preparing for seminars and submitting work on time.
The ability to carry out independent research for which credit will be given in the assessments
Locating and using relevant hard-copy and electronic sources seminars will require preparation using material from websites.
Awareness of and ability to analyse theoretical materials.
Ability to work in groups.

Brief description

The origins of human rights can be traced back to very early jurisprudential and other philosophical theories. The basis may be in natural law or some other philosophical standpoint. It could merely 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 module would concentrate on detailed discussion of these rights theories, their ideological position and the theoretical difficulties at the fringes of rights, discussing children, the unborn and groups. Having set these boundaries it then explores the national and international institutions set up for their protection and the types of remedy which rights might provide to various types of legal applicants.


The course aims to develop transferable skills such as research, analysis and critical evaluation which are valuable in many professional contexts. It will require a high level of independent research activity and time management. It will require an ability to use, evaluate and critically analyse theoretical texts and the mechanisms by which domestic and international law protect rights and achieve a balance between these and state power.


It will include:
Rights Theories
Parameters of Rights ? Children and Groups   
Group Rights and Discrimination   
Rights and Constitutional Safeguards   
Institutions and Remedies
Both National and International   

This module will be taught through lectures and seminars. Some of the lectures will involve discussion with the students of particularly complex aspects of the course. Having said this, the lectures basically provide the framework for a greater understanding of the subject and will encourage a critical response. The seminars will permit more detailed discussion and analysis of particular aspects of the course, some of which may not be covered in detail in the lectures. Preparation for both the seminars and written work will require independent research on the part of students.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
W Kymlicka (1995) The Rights of Minority Cultures Oxford University Press
C Douzinas (2000) The End of Human Rights Hart Publishing
C S Nino (1994) The Ethics of Human Rights Clarendon Press
D McGoldrick (1991) The Human Rights Committee Clarendon Press


This module is at CQFW Level 6