Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Introduction to English Law and Legal Method (LAW 1121) and Law of Torts (LAW 1051) and EU Constitutional Law (LAW 1061) and Law of Contract (LAW 1071) and The Individual and the State (LAW 1081) and UK Constitutional Law (LAW 1091).


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Building on the foundations laid in the Individual and the State and EU Constitutional Law, this module will explore in greater detail European Human Rights Law.


  • European Human Rights Law builds on foundations laid in the Individual and the State and EU Constitutional Law module and includes law of the European Convention on Human Rights and EU human rights law. The module explores further the substantive law, principles, and politics of European Human Rights Law.
  • Students will learn the law through engagement with contemporary human rights issues, investigating a range of rights and primary and secondary sources. This course consists of instructors who engage in research-led teaching drawing upon their own expertise in a particular subject matter.
  • Topics may vary from year to year according to the instructors on the course but may include:
  • surveillance and privacy (eg in the employment context);
  • principles of the ECHR (European consensus and the living instrument doctrine);
  • modern challenges to freedom of expression (deep fakes, social media);
  • equality and non-discrimination;
  • institutional capacity (extraterritoriality; interim measures; advisory opinions);
  • reproductive rights (abortion, sterilisation, IVF, assisted reproduction);
  • prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment;
  • the right to life and discussions on assisted suicide;
  • the right to respect for private and family life (e.g. in the context of same-sex couples);
  • the principle of legality in criminal law, the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Have knowledge of the treaty provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights and EU human rights law.
  • Have knowledge of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice of the European Union.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Apply the existing law to factual scenarios and give legally cogent advice;
  • Analyse and evaluate the existing law in the light of the legal, social and political questions raised;
  • Conduct independent research using the relevant legal databases for investigating the law and procedures of the institutions underpinning European Human Rights Law;
  • Critically evaluate European Human Rights Law using doctrinal, theoretical, and political literature.
Key Skills:
  • Acquisition of knowledge through critical analysis of primary and secondary sources;
  • Synthesis, critical judgment and evaluation of ideas and arguments;
  • Written communication skills;
  • Conduct independent research.

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

  • The Course will be delivered by 12 x 2 hour seminars. Six research topics will be taught in this time. Seminars will be used to explore a particular topic in great depth, drawing upon a range of sources across European and domestic institutions. Students will be expected to be conduct research exercises and present in class.
  • The formative assignment is 2000 words and will test the knowledge, critical skills, and research skills of students. It should prepare them for the summative assessment wherein the students will be given a choice of topics to write a 5000 word dissertation.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
seminars 12 Normally weekly, with a week's break between topics 2 hrs 24
Preparation and reading 176

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
summative essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

1 written essay of about 2,000 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