The Protection of Human Rights in the UK

The details
Law (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
18 June 2020


Requisites for this module
LW103 or LW110



Key module for


Module description

This 15 credit module, taught in the autumn term, aims to build upon the foundations of human rights law which are introduced in LW103 Foundations of Public Law law and give students a deeper understanding of the framework within which human rights are protected in the United Kingdom.

The module commences with consideration of the rights protected by the law of the UK. This is followed by a detailed examination of the Human Rights Act 1998, focussing in particular on sections 2, 3, 4 and 6; and of the protection of human rights at common law. We then look at the role of the European Court of Human Rights and the interaction between national and supranational institutions in this area, before taking a comparative perspective. Finally, the module will consider the future of human rights protection and the potential for reform in this area.

Module aims

The objectives of the module are:

To provide students with the necessary knowledge so that the Learning Outcomes listed below are achieved

To provide students with a knowledge of the framework for the protection of human rights in the UK that they can apply to substantive legal problems.

To encourage students to engage with the framework for protection of human rights in the UK within its political and international context.

Module learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module students will be able to:

Show understanding of and critically evaluate the framework for protection of human rights in the United Kingdom

Identify the distribution of powers and functions between the three branches of government in the protection of human rights and critically evaluate that distribution

Identify the distribution of powers and functions between the United Kingdom and the Council of Europe in the protection of human rights and critically evaluate that distribution

Consider the need for structural reform to human rights protection

Module information

Introduction to the protection of human rights in the United Kingdom

- Section 2 HRA: the role

= Sections 3 and 4: statutory interpretation and declarations of incompatibility

- Section 6: proportionality and discretion

The horizontal application of human rights

Legislative scrutiny: Human Rights and Parliament

The work of the Joint Committee on Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights

- Responding to human rights judgments

- Reform

Learning and teaching methods

This module is taught through a mixture of pre-recorded lectures and 10 weekly 50-minute small group tutorials. Each week before your tutorials, the module teaching team will make available on Moodle two or more pre-recorded video lectures that they have prepared and produced. In total, the duration of each week’s video lectures will be approximately 50 minutes. In most teaching weeks, you will be expected to have watched these lectures before the tutorials, although some of these lectures may be designed to be watched after the tutorials to recap on material discussed there. The module teaching team will also produce and make available on Moodle short guidance notes for each weekly tutorial. These notes will introduce the readings that must be completed in advance of each tutorial and will contain tips to help you understand and analyse those texts. You will be expected to have completed the readings in advance of your tutorials. Your tutorials will enable you to discuss the readings in the context of specific tutorial questions, to obtain feedback on your pre-class preparation and to deepen your understanding of key concepts. To help you prepare in the best possible way for your tutorials, you will be completing regular small assessed activities to enable you to reflect upon and track your progress, understand what you are doing well, and give you clear feedback to help you manage your studies and your progress.


  • Fenwick, Helen; Baker, Aaron. (©2017) Fenwick on civil liberties and human rights, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Summative Essay    80% 
Practical   Written Tutorial Preparation    20% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Anna Hardiman-McCartney, email: ahard@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Anna Hardiman-McCartney
Law General Office, Telephone: 01206 872529 Email: lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Prof Julia Shaw
De Montfort University
Professor of Law
Available via Moodle
Of 30 hours, 30 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Law (School of)

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

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