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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: International Human Rights Law (LAWS10224)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will provide students with an introduction to the fundamental dimensions of international human rights law, including: the nature and status of human rights, debates concerning the politics and efficacy of human rights, the two major international treaties, the extraterritorial application of human rights law, and some case studies in the jurisprudence of human rights on particular topics.
Course description 1. What are human rights?
2. History of human rights;
3. The international human rights institutions;
4. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
5. The right to life;
6. The prohibition on torture and the Convention against torture;
7. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
8. The right to food;
9. The right to health;
10. Do human rights work?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: International Law Ordinary (semester 1) (LAWS08114)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students MUST have passed: International Law Ordinary 1 (semester 1) (LAWS08114) or an equivalent foundational course in Public International Law as agreed with the course organiser.

Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Students must have passed International Law Ordinary 1 or an equivalent foundational course in Public International Law at their home institution as agreed with the course organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed by two summative tasks, one in the middle of the course and the other at the end.

The first task will be a 3000-word paper which compares and contrasts the perspective of at least two readings that debate the nature, history or effectiveness of human rights (50%);

The second task will be a 3000-word take-home examination based on set of facts to which students will apply the relevant legal principles and form a view about violations of human rights law (50%).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Knowledge of key debates concerning the nature and effectiveness of international human rights law and ability to think critically about these debates; Knowledge and ability to use key methods of legal analysis and interpretation of human rights law to frame issues; Knowledge of the history of human rights;
  2. Reason with human rights law to identify human rights law violations and remedies; Knowledge of the international human rights system of institutions.
  3. Ability to conduct research into sources of human rights law, and to think critically about debates concerning its effectiveness.
  4. Ability to reason independently about legal and political questions, drawing on complex materials and different kinds of argument; Ability to articulate legal arguments using human rights law, and also to communicate ideas from other perspectives on human rights.
  5. Ability to develop a novel perspective on existing debates and arguments. A focus on a number of case studies will enable students to apply their theoretical and historical understandings to particular examples.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordshuman rights,international law
Course organiserDr Michelle Burgis-Kasthala
Tel: (0131 6)50 2008
Course secretaryMiss Susie Morgan
Tel: (0131 6)50 2339
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