LL426E      Half Unit
Theory of Human Rights Law

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kai Moller NAB7.01


This course is available on the Executive LLM. This course is not available as an outside option.

Available to Executive LLM students only. This course will be offered on the Executive LLM during the four year degree period. The Department of Law will not offer all Executive LLM courses every year, although some of the more popular courses may be offered in each year, or more than once each year. Please note that whilst it is the Department of Law's intention to offer all Executive LLM courses, its ability to do so will depend on the availability of the staff member in question. For more information please refer to the Department of Law website.

Course content

The course will provide an introduction to the philosophy of human rights and theoretical issues in human rights law. The emphasis is on a combination of law and theory; to this end, each seminar will rely on a mixture of cases from various jurisdictions and theoretical and philosophical materials. The overarching questions to be examined are to what extent current philosophical theories of human rights can illuminate our understanding of the cases and legal doctrines, and to what extent the cases and doctrines can help improving the theoretical and philosophical understanding of human rights. Topics to be discussed will include: Interest Theories of Human Rights; Ronald Dworkin’s Theory of Rights as Trumps; Balancing and Proportionality; Human Rights and Judicial Review I (The American Perspective); Human Rights and Judicial Review II (The European Perspective); Absolute Rights.


24-26 hours of contact time.

Formative coursework

Students will have the option of producing a formative exam question of 2000 words to be delivered one month from the end of the module’s teaching session by email.

Indicative reading

The course will rely on both cases from various jurisdictions and articles and book chapters from authors including Ronald Dworkin, Robert Alexy, James Griffin, Mattias Kumm, Jeremy Waldron and Frances Kamm.


Either a take-home examination or 8,000 word assessed essay (100%).

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills