Not available in 2013/14
EU463      Half Unit
European Human Rights Law

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kai Moller NAB 7.01


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in European Studies: Ideas and Identities, MSc in European Studies: Ideas and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union and MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This is a capped course (15 students). Students are required to obtain permission from the teaching department to take this course.


No prior knowledge of law in general or human rights law in particular is required.

Course content

The European Convention on Human Rights is an international treaty which was drafted shortly after the end of WW II and came into force in 1953. One of its remarkable features is that individuals who think that their human rights have been violated can take their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which has the final authority on the interpretation of the Convention. In the past half century, the Strasbourg court has developed a comprehensive jurisprudence on human rights and has become one of the most important and most highly respected human rights courts in the world. This course will offer an introduction to the law of the Convention, in particular by studying and critically analysing the case law on certain important rights. In the final sessions we will take a more theoretical perspective and examine whether there is anything specifically 'European' about European human rights law. Topics include: An introduction to the European Convention. Positive and negative obligations in Europe and the U.S. Proportionality and the margin of appreciation. The right to life. Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The right to private life and the protection of morals. The right to freedom of religion and the issue of religious dress. The right to freedom of expression, especially: blasphemous speech, obscene speech and hate speech. The right to freedom of association and 'militant democracy'. What is European about European human rights law?


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

The students are asked to submit one 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

There is no formal textbook, but interested students may find the following two books helpful: Mowbray, Cases and Materials on the European Convention on Human Rights, 2nd ed, OUP 2007 Janis, Kay and Bradley, European Human Rights Law, 3rd ed, OUP 2008


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2012/13: 12

Average class size 2012/13: 13

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 82.5%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)