EU463      Half Unit
European Human Rights Law

This information is for the 2015/16 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 EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities and MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is not available as an outside option.

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 abstract perspective and study cutting-edge scholarship on the theory of 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. Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the issue of deportation and extradition. The right to private life and the protection of morals. The right to freedom of religion and the issues of religious dress and religious symbols. The right to freedom of expression, especially: blasphemous speech, obscene speech and hate speech. The right to freedom of association and 'militant democracy'. Theories of European human rights law. 


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

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy. 

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

There is no formal textbook, but interested students may find the following book helpful: Harris, O'Boyle and Warbrick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights, 3rd ed, OUP 2015. 


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

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15
Merit 65
Pass 15
Fail 5

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2014/15: 8

Average class size 2014/15: 8

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2012/13 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 73.1%



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