Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module LAW45015: International Counter Terrorism: Theory and Practice

Department: Law

LAW45015: International Counter Terrorism: Theory and Practice

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module will explore in detail the concept of terrorism and attempts in international law to tackle terrorism. The first half of this module will examine the concept of terrorism and the attempts of confronting terrorism through legal frameworks such as international humanitarian law. The second half of this course will focus on the impact counter-terrorism laws have in international human rights law, with a particular emphasis on the European Convention on Human Rights and how its jurisprudence has shaped the UK’s counter-terrorist landscape.


  • The module will cover a selection of topics from the following list
  • What is terrorism? International attempts to define terrorism
  • Terrorism and International humanitarian law
  • Counter-Terrorism and targeted killings
  • Tackling terrorist financing
  • Terrorism and derogations from international human rights norms
  • Terrorism and Human Rights: deprivation of liberty and procedural rights
  • Terrorism and Human Rights: freedom of expression and association
  • Terrorism and Human Rights: the absolute prohibition of torture and extra-ordinary rendition

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module, the students will:
  • Understand the legal and political factors that shape both the concept of terrorism and states’ responses to it;
  • Have an in-depth and critical understanding of existing frameworks of confronting terrorism in international law;
  • Have an in-depth and critical understanding of international human rights law in the context of counter-terrorism.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will:
  • Critically analyse international law’s attempt to confront terrorism;
  • Critically analyse the concept of terrorism itself;
  • Have the ability to utilise socio-legal material in constructing critical arguments regarding the nature of terrorism and legal responses to it.
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to:
  • Use sophisticated techniques of information retrieval and management using an array of print and digital resources;
  • Demonstrate an independent approach to learning and problem-solving;
  • Formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English in an effective way, within the discursive conventions of academic writing and written to high academic standards.
  • Formulate complex arguments and communicate them orally through in class discussions and debates.

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

  • The teaching will be based on seminars supported by in-depth but targeted reading drawn from both primary and secondary sources;
  • Seminars will be accompanied by a list of key questions which students will use as signposts to guide them in their independent learning. Seminars will then focus on these questions through a mixture of class discussions and in class exercises;
  • The method of assessment will test student's ability to meet the relevant learning outcomes. The summative essay will require independent research, assess the extent to which students have developed an overall grasp of the subject matter and underlying the regulatory issues, and test their ability to engage in critical analysis through a structured argument;
  • The formative essay will assist in preparation for the summative essay.
  • Feedback on the formative and summative assessment to be provided in accordance with Law School feedback policies.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 Weekly 2 Hours 16
Preparation and reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100% 3,000 word, different title

Formative Assessment:

One essay of approximately 1,500 words

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