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
Other Teachers:
Dr Ronan McCrea
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 10 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students, Other UCL Masters students
Prerequisites: None

Barred module combinations:

It cannot be combined with its full module LAWSG152 or LAWSG152A Theory and Practice of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Core module for specialism: European Union Law, Human Rights Law, Public Law
Practice Assessment: to be confirmed
Assessment method for Masters students: 3,000 word coursework essay
Module Overview

Module summary

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 very 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 focuses on the EU and discusses the inclusion of human rights in the treaties of the EU, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Lisbon Treaty. These raise conflicts between social rights and economic freedoms, as well as more general questions on interpretation of rights such as privacy, religion and family life, which are analysed. The role of rights in the external relations of the EU is also assessed. In terms of the monitoring, the module examines the role of courts and new methods of governance. It also looks at the issue of the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights. The module looks at case law that illustrates the main tendencies, and emphasises the importance of philosophical analysis in assessing the possibilities and shortcomings of human rights principles in this supranational legal order.

Module syllabus

1. The constitutionalisation of human rights in the EU
2. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
3. Monitoring human rights I: The role of the European Court of Justice
4. Monitoring human rights II: The EU Fundamental Rights Agency
5. The Council of Europe and the European Union
6. Social rights v economic freedoms
7. Freedom of religion
8. Human rights of migrants
9. Human rights in the external relations of the EU
10. Human rights and European Integration

Recommended materials

There is no set text for the module. Various articles and book chapters will be assigned for each seminar and posted on Moodle (virtual learning environment).

Preliminary reading

P Craig, G de Burca, EU Law, OUP, 2011, 5th edition, Chapter 11
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
C Gearty, V Mantouvalou, Debating Social Rights, Hart, 2011

Other information: N/A
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now open.

Please refer to the How to apply section for information on the application process.