Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module LAW52915: Rights of the Child

Department: Law

LAW52915: Rights of the Child

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap
Tied to


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This course aims to provide the student with an in-depth understanding of human rights issues as they affect children, and the particular problems raised by the idea of human rights for children.


  • theoretical issues relating to children's rights: children as legal subjects; cultural relativism; children in the context of families and other relationships;
  • overview of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other main legal instruments for the protection of children's rights, including methods of implementation and enforcement;
  • issues relating to children and their families;
  • civil and political rights issues, such as children in the criminal justice system; violence against children;
  • economic and social rights issues, such as child labour; the right to education.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • students will gain an in-depth knowledge of the relevant international treaties, judicial decisions and programmes developed by international organisations in relation to children's rights;
  • students will develop a critical understanding of the theoretical, political, cultural and economic issues underlying questions of childrens's rights.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Employ materials from the range of sources concerning the rights of the child
  • Students will be able to work with a variety of international and comparative law materials in the area of children’s rights. They will be able to apply general principles in children’s rights to a variety of specific issues. They will understand the historical, political, cultural and social contexts in which children’s rights have developed and the continuing controversies surrounding these.
  • Students will be able to undertake research in international and comparative law materials in the area of children’s rights.
Key Skills:
  • Students will be able to:
  • Undertake independent research.
  • Demonstrate an ability to understand and critcally analyse complex issues of international and comparative law.

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

  • Seminars are designed to introduce students to central issues in the rights of the child, inclusing both theoretical and practical issues. Seminars will include structured reading lists of academic literature and international and comparative law materials which students will use to prepare for classroom discussion. Discussion in seminars will focus on political, cultural and economic issues underlying questions of children's rights. Students will develop their ability to present and evaluate critically arguments in relation to children's rights.
  • Assessment by essay will develop students' abilities to undertake research in international and comparative law materials in the area of children's rights, and to think critically and engage with debates in a cogent way. They will be able to work independently to develop their research and arguments. The essay also develops written communication skills through the structure and presentation of a sustained argument in answer to an essay question.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 Weekly, interspersed with several reading weeks 2 16
Preparation and Reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

An essay outline of 1500 words which will be marked as formative assessment.

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