International Human Rights: Theories and Institutions

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
01 June 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

LLM M2M012 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
LLM M2M024 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
LLM M10112 International Human Rights Law,
LLM M10124 International Human Rights Law,
LLM M10A12 International Human Rights Law (Economic Relations),
LLM M1AA12 International Human Rights and Economic Law,
LLM M1AA24 International Human Rights and Economic Law

Module description

The module starts by providing students with an overview of human rights and human rights law. It then introduces students to a range of critical approaches to human rights law, including feminist, TWAIL (Third World Approaches to International Law), postcolonial, and queer approaches. Next, the module looks at the range of international and regional institutions for enforcing human rights, before turning to domestic enforcement.

The module ensures students on the International Human Rights LLMs have a firm grounding in theoretical approaches to international human rights law, as well as the core institutions for human rights protection.

Module aims

This compulsory module aims to provide students with an analytical, critical and contextual introduction to international human rights law. It includes both international and regional norms, institutions and processes, as well as some issues arising from the national implementation of these norms. The course is designed to provide a solid legal foundation on the basis of which students will pursue their more specialised optional courses and human rights research. It also aims to familiarise students with the major contemporary features and debates within international human rights law. Further, it provides students with an opportunity to develop their analytical skills in relation to the international law of human rights.

Module learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of the course are:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of legal methodology and writing appropriate to a Master’s level course
2. Discuss and evaluate different theoretical approaches to human rights law
3. Discuss and evaluate the different legal institutions for human rights
4. Respond critically and thoughtfully to practical problems involving human rights institutions
5. Apply the law accurately and critically to practical situations

Module information

Indicative Topics by Week

1. Introduction to Human Rights

Critical Theories and Particular Vulnerable Groups
2. Morality and Politics within Human Rights
3. Feminist Approaches
4. Third World Approaches
5. Queer Approaches

6. UN Charter System
7. UN Treaty System
8. Regional Systems
9. Domestic Enforcement

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be taught via weekly 2-hour seminars. The module teaching team will upload all relevant teaching materials on Moodle. You will find reading lists, the textbook, weekly handouts or PPS notes on Moodle. The materials in question are designed both to help you navigate the material to be covered in the seminars and to equip you to analyse the required readings. You will be expected to have completed the required readings in advance of your seminars.



Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay (LW924 IHR Theories and Institutions)    100% 

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



External examiner

Dr Luke Moffett
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Essex Law School

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

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