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European Human Rights Law & Institutions - LAWS8157
 UNSW in bloom

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Pre-requisite: Academic Program must be 9200 or 9210 or 9230 or 5740 or 9220 or 5750 or 9211 or 5211.
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 1 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


Europe enjoys the world’s most advanced regional human rights system. Its “jewel in the crown” is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) of 1950, the world’s first and still unique human rights treaty, adopted by the Council of Europe as a reaction to the mass murders and atrocities of the Second World War. 47 States have ratified the Convention; some 50’000 applications have been submitted in 2008; some 100’000 cases are pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). In recent years, the European Union has also become a major actor in the field of human rights. Europe thus possesses two systems of human rights protection that are complementary and constitute the core of this course.

Please note:

LLM Specialisations

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

This course has the following aims:
  • To introduce the participants to the principles and institutions of European human rights law and practice.
  • To develop the skills necessary to apply, analyze and criticize these principles
  • To develop the skills necessary to communicate and debate the role law, rights and politics play in the general growth and change of law and society.
At the end of this course, participants should be able to:
  • demonstrate a sound knowledge of the principles and institutions of human rights law in Europe;
  • recall and recount the origins and evolution of these principles and institutions ;
  • understand how these principles and institutions apply in practice;
  • recall the central facts and legal principles in the case law studied;
  • analyse case law and identify the different approaches and philosophies of judges;
  • demonstrate their ability to think critically and creatively and justify their ideas in an effective, reasoned and scholarly manner;
  • appreciate the difference of the world of the professors and that of the judges.

Main Topics

  • A general introduction and a discussion of the changing views about the tasks of the ECtHR;
  • Human rights in the European Union (EU);
  • “Absolute” guarantees (right to life, prohibition of torture);
  • Private and family life;
  • The freedoms of expression, of the press and of association;
  • Multiculturalism, democracy’s enemies, terrorism;
  • Right to property;
  • Prospects and reform of the system.


Class participation
Short answer question
Research essay

Course Texts

Course Materials are available for purchase from the UNSW Bookshop


Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer at the beginning of session.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.