Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module LAW54415: Law and Religious Liberty

Department: Law

LAW54415: Law and Religious Liberty

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2007/08
Tied to


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to provide a theoretical and critical assessment of how selected issues of religious liberty have been handled in human rights law. It will address some of the wide range of legal issues raised by the accomodating of religious belief and practice in diverse societies. Some comparisons will also be made to the legal protection of religious freedom in different domestic constitutional settings.


  • legal and religious approaches to religious liberty;
  • the legal meaning of religious belief and practice;
  • free speech and religious sensitivity;
  • the family, the child and religious liberty;
  • State Establishment of religion;
  • religious autonomy;
  • legal regulation of religious discrimination.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • by the end of the module students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of:
  • the theoretical basis of religious liberty;
  • the meaning of religion for the purposes of European Convention on Human Rights, the ICCPR and other international treaties;
  • the Constitutional protection of private religious liberty under different legal systems, especially in the US under the First Amendment and in the UK under the Human Rights Act 1998;
  • the legal framework for the manifestation of religious belief in practice in areas such as employment, freedom of expression, and in the family;
  • the relationship between public religion and the state, including the meaning of "establishment" and partnership between the state and religious associations in the provision of education and other public goods;
  • the legal nature of religious associations and the legal status of members and ministry;
  • International and domestic guarantees of religious equality and non-discrimination.
Subject-specific Skills:
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • They will study the primary legal texts, judgements from international and domestic courts, and academic commentary and critique of these sources, together with a broader theoretical literature on the nature of religious liberty.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Seminars 10 Weekly 1.5 15
    Preparation and Reading 135
    Total 150

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Essay. 4000 word 100%

    Formative Assessment:

    One assignment of approximately 2,000 words during whichever term the module is taught to follow the student's seminar presentation.

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University