Institute of Global Law

Institute of Global Law

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Mr Colm O’Cinneide
Other Teachers:


This module will give the students a comparative overview of the legal protection of human rights in some of the leading jurisdictions in the world, and the influence on these jurisdictions of international human rights instruments. Students will be introduced to the main issues relating to the protecting of human rights, including the role of the courts, the constitutional status of human rights provisions, and the ways in which first, second and right generation rights are protected. The module will enable students to apply the comparative method to the study of human rights law in a range of different jurisdictions, and to draw out general principles and lessons of general application from the material. This is not an international human rights module, although reference will be made to the ECHR and UN mechanisms as appropriate.


Semester One:

  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Theories of Rights – Liberal Theories
  3. Ideology of Rights? – The Left and Communitarian Critique
  4. Introduction to the US Bill of Rights and Constitutional Interpretation
  5. Rights Review in Europe: From Political to Legal Constitutionalism
  6. Westminster, Weak Form, and Dialogic Review
  7. Torture – theory & practice
  8. Socio-economic Rights 1
  9. Socio-economic Rights 2
  10. Freedom of Expression: Political Speech and Elections

Semester Two:

  1. Freedom of Expression - Hate Speech and Religious Offence
  2. Equality - Non-discrimination
  3. Equality - Positive Action
  4. Minority Rights
  5. Freedom of Religion/Belief
  6. Reproductive Rights
  7. Privacy
  8. Association
  9. Stares of Emergency
  10. New Directions - Transformative Constitutionalism and the 'Global South'.

Background Reading (optional):

C. Harvey, ‘Talking About Human Rights’ (2004) EHRLR 500;

Chris McCrudden, “A Common Law of Human Rights?” (2000) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 499;

The essays in (2003) 1(2) International Journal of Constitutional Law.

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 20 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: This module cannot be taken with its components LAWSG068A Comparative Human Rights Law I and LAWSG068B Comparative Human Rights Law II
Core Module for LLM specialism: Human Rights Law, Comparative Law, Public Law
Final Assessment: 3,000 word coursework essay (50%) and unseen 2-hour written examination (50%)
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay per term

This page was last updated on 23 July, 2014