Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Context

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
04 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

LLM M2M012 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
LLM M2M024 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Module description

This module builds on the foundational introduction to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) provided in LW901 International Human Rights Law: Law and Practice. LW901 is a pre-requisite for this module, and the course outline for LW930 should be read in conjunction with that of LW901.

ESCR include the right to work, rights at work, the right to health, the right to an adequate standard of living (including housing, water, clothing and food), the right to protection and assistance to the family, the right to education, the right to social security and the right to culture.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To look at international and national challenges and opportunities to advance progressively in the fulfilment of ESCR.

  • To enable students to put ESCR in a wider law and policy context.

  • To provide students with working knowledge of the relationship between intersectional inequality and ESCR, global challenges like climate change and pandemic preparedness, the role of privatisation and taxation to fulfil ESCR, and the negative impact of austerity and structural adjustments.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will have developed a critical understanding of: 

  1. States’ obligations under international human rights law to promote and protect ESCR at the level of policy.

  2. International mechanisms to monitor compliance with international law on ESCR and to hold States accountable.

  3. The bearing of poverty, power, inequality and the other conditions on ESCR, and different conceptual approaches to addressing them.

  4. The challenges posed by contemporary crises in relation to climate change and public health emergencies.

  5. Some methods to assess progress and retrogression in the satisfaction of ESCR.

Module information

Indicative Module Outline

  • Intersectionality, equality and ESCR.

  • Social determinants of health.

  • Cultural rights. Dr Marina Lostal.

  • Right to work and rights at work.

  • Public finance, taxation and welfare state.

  • Privatisation and private delivery of social services.

  • Austerity and non-retrogression: Principles and monitoring.

  • International trade, investment and ESCR.

  • ESCR and international human rights mechanisms.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour seminar each week.

Students are expected to read the materials, including cases, on the reading list each week.


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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay (LW930 Economic Social and Cultural Rights)    100% 

Additional coursework information

This module will be assessed by way of a 5,000-word essay.

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
Ms Judith Bueno De Mesquita, email: jrbuen@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Koldo Casla, email: koldo.casla@essex.ac.uk.
School of Law, University of Essex; Email: jrbuen@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Titilayo Adebola
University of Aberdeen
Lecturer in Law
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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