Human Rights Clinic

The details
Human Rights Centre (Essex Law School)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
27 May 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module is concerned with the practice of human rights advocacy and is linked to the Human Rights Centre Clinic. Its key focus is the critical engagement with efforts made to enforce human rights protection through the use of international law and mechanisms.

The module will develop students' ability to evaluate – and effectively engage with – some of the principal strategies available to human rights practitioners. It will also provide students with the skillset necessary to work as human rights professionals.

The module includes the following content:

Open-data desk research
Evidence gathering and interviewing
International and national advocacy dynamics
Impact assessment
Strategic communications and framing (how we talk)
Engaging with media (how we amplify our voices)
Strategic litigation in front of judicial and quasi-judicial international mechanisms

We will end the module by tying together all that we have learnt in the Module and the Clinic and formulating good practices for developing a human rights advocacy strategy.

Students taking this course are required to participate in the Human Rights Centre Clinic. By combining this module with the Clinic, students are provided with the opportunity both to learn about human rights protection mechanisms and to apply this knowledge through actual engagement with national and international stakeholders in the human rights sector, including NGOs and international organisations.

Module aims

Satisfactory attendance and participation in this Module and the Human Rights Centre Clinic will:

HU902 Taught Component

1. Develop students’ ability to critically engage with issues relating to the practice of human rights advocacy
2. Develop students’ ability: to reflect on different approaches taken (what has worked, what has not, and why), to learn from and utilise existing experience (that of academic staff, other students, and their own) and to apply this understanding to future challenges
3. Provide students with the essential skillset necessary to become successful human rights professionals, including an understanding of how to effectively engage international human rights mechanisms

HRC Clinic

1. Provide students with the opportunity to develop the skillset necessary to become successful practitioners through structured engagement in the practice of human rights
2. Provide students with the experience of working in a professional human rights-based environment
3. Positively contribute to the overall practice of human rights through engagement with international human rights mechanisms, and other mechanisms as appropriate
4. Contribute to the capacity development of external partner organisations, inter alia, by means of a sustained and collaborative working relationship, and through the placement of Clinic staff
5. Demonstrate the practical application of human rights and its relevance to ‘real-world’ issues

Module learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of HU902, students will:

1. Have developed a critical understanding of the international human rights machinery, its strengths and weaknesses, and its relevance to the overall practice of human rights advocacy
2. Possess an awareness of the context in which human rights work takes place
3. Be able to apply theory to the practice of human rights
4. Be able to develop focused strategies with clear objectives to address identified human rights issues
5. Possess the essential skillset necessary to be a successful human rights professional, including an ability to question, research, analyse, and apply facts to a given human rights problem, and to translate this into an effective output
6. Possess an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of human rights practice.
7. Be able to critically assess and reflect upon work undertaken, and to place this within the theoretical framework developed during postgraduate study.

Module information

The module is open only to students who have been admitted to the Human Rights Centre Clinic. Please refer to the HRC Clinic page to find out how to apply by going onto this link:

HU902 runs in parallel to the Human Rights Centre Clinic and all students working on the Clinic must enrol in HU902. No other students may enrol.

While HU902 is primarily a Spring Term module, two two-hour lectures will be held in the Autumn term, in weeks 4 and 8. These sessions are scheduled to coincide with the start of Clinic work (in November) and are aimed at facilitating practical work by focusing on group work and research as well as oral and writing skills.

During the Spring Term there will be one two-hour lecture and one one-hour seminar per week.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will have two seminars in the Autumn Term, as well as weekly seminars in the Spring. These seminars will exceptionally be taught via live webinars, to ensure you have the opportunity to be taught by experts from across the globe.



Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay (HU902 Human Rights Clinic)    50% 
Coursework   Reflective Statement (HU902 Human Rights Clinic)    20% 
Coursework   Professionalism (HU902 Human Rights Clinic)    30% 

Additional coursework information

The professionalism mark evaluates the student’s performance in their Clinic work.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff


Travel costs for UK - based unpaid, approved work placements and live projects which are an integral part of a module may be covered by your department. (NB this will usually exclude field trips and site visits). Please check with your module supervisor to ensure that the activity is eligible.

External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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