Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module LAW45315: Advanced Issues in Human Rights

Department: Law

LAW45315: Advanced Issues in Human Rights

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop an understanding of specialized aspects of human rights law and practice, to be chosen from 4 topic areas, encompassing advanced doctrinal, theoretical, and socio-legal materials and concepts, representing some of the main research areas in human rights in the Law School and aiming in particular to enhance the students’ experience of research-led teaching.


  • The Strasbourg Court and LGBT rights
  • Consensus doctrine and human rights
  • Discrimination and Equality Law and Theory
  • Bills of Rights and the Human Rights Act
  • Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights
  • Proportionality
  • European Convention on Human Rights: Advanced Issues
  • Privacy in Comparative Perspective
  • Common Law Rights/Constitutionalism
  • If 'Protection of Human Rights in Europe’ module as well as this module both run in any one year, members of staff concerned must choose topics for seminars from the list of topics that ensure that there is no or minimal overlap between the two modules.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have:
  • Have an in-depth and critical understanding of aspects of international and domestic human rights law
  • a thorough knowledge of the intellectual topography of selected issues in human rights law.
  • a demonstrably in-depth knowledge of certain key issues
  • a familiarity with the secondary literature and debates surrounding key issues
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • interpret and critically evaluate relevant international human rights treaty provisions, domestic law, general principles and theoretical approaches;
  • identify key reasoning tools employed by international and constitutional courts in resolving human rights issues;
  • appreciate how cultural, social and historical factors affect legal approaches to key public law problems
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • demonstrate an ability to understand and critically analyse a wide variety of complex issues, drawing on comparative and theoretical materials;
  • develop expertise in conducting research into materials from a variety of national and international sources;
  • use effective techniques of information retrieval and management using an array of print and digital resources;
  • demonstrate an independent approach to learning and problem-solving;
  • formulate written complex arguments in clear, 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.
  • describe accurately and comprehensibly the arguments and analysis of other commentators
  • demonstrate an ability to explore complex issues creatively in writing.

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 students’ ability to meet the relevant learning outcomes. The summative essay will require independent research, and will assess the extent to which students have developed an overall grasp of the subject matter, will test their ability to engage in scholarly research and 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

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100% 3,000, 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