LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Dr George Letsas
Dr Virginia Mantouvalou
Other Teachers:
Mr Colm O'Cinneide
Prof Piet Eeckhout


Human rights law has acquired a central role in Europe. The Council of Europe, the main supranational human rights organisation in the region, is considered to be effective and paradigmatic at international level, primarily because of the role of the European Court of Human Rights that monitors compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Union, which was not traditionally a human rights organisation, has started to grant human rights a much more central role than it used to. The aim of the module is to investigate both jurisdictions, looking at the substantive law and its monitoring, philosophical issues on its interpretation, as well as the politics on matters such as immigration and social rights.

This module explores the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights. It examines key areas of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, regarding a) the procedure before the European Court b) general methods of interpretation and standards of review used by the European Court of Human Rights (margin of appreciation, proportionality, balancing, autonomous concepts) c) principles and policies on core rights of the Convention (right to life, freedom of expression and right not to be tortured). Although it does not cover the case law on all the rights of the Convention, reference will be made to cases that illustrate the use of general interpretive principles.


  1. Introduction to the Strasbourg system
  2. The monitoring system: the application process
  3. General principles of interpretation: an overview
  4. Intentionalism, textualism and the Convention as a ‘living instrument’
  5. The margin of appreciation
  6. Proportionality and balancing
  7. The legitimacy of international human rights institutions
  8. Positive obligations
  9. Freedom of expression
  10. Remedies, compliance and impact on national legal systems

Background Reading (optional):

  • G Letsas, A Theory of Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights, 2nd edition, OUP, 2009
  • R McCrea, Religion and the Public Order of the European Union, OUP, 2010
  • S Greer, The European Convention on Human Rights: Achievements, Problems and Prospects, Cambridge University Press, 2006

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: 10 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: It cannot be combined with its full module LAWSG152 Human Rights in Europe or LAWSG152B European Union and Human Rights.
Core Module for LLM specialism: European Union Law, Human Rights Law, Public Law
Final Assessment: 3,000 word coursework essay
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one practice essay

This page was last updated on 24 July, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.