LL468      Half Unit
European Human Rights Law

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Conor Gearty SAR.G.04

Teaching Fellow: Dr Patrick O'Brien


This course is available on the MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Human Rights, Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students.

Course content

This course will provide an overview of the origin, development and current standing of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Its primary focus will be on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, though the cases of other jurisdictions will also be referred to where appropriate. The course will analyse the Convention from the perspective of selected rights within it, but will also engage with the subject thematically, subjecting such concepts as the 'margin of appreciation' and proportionality to close scrutiny. The goal of the course is to give students a good critical understanding of the Convention, the case-law of the Strasbourg court and the Convention's place within the constitutional and political structure of 'Greater Europe'. This course complements UK Human Rights Law (LL469) but is entirely self-standing and can easily be taken without that course.


15 hours of lectures and 5 hours of classes in the MT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

There will be a Reading Week in week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay

Indicative reading

There are two texts that cover the ground of the course and to which reference will be made: Jacobs and White, The European Convention on Human Rights 5th edn (OUP, 2010) and Harris, O'Boyle and Warbrick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights 2nd edn (Oxford, 2009). Also useful is Mowbray, Cases and Materials on the European Convention on Human Rights 3rd edn (Oxford, 2012). A strong European perspective is to be found in van Dijk, van Hoof, van Rijn and Zwaak (eds), Theory and Practice of the European Convention on Human Rights 4th edn (Intersentia, 2006).

The course will involve textbook reading but will primarily entail analysis of case-law read for the lecture and discussed in class.


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

This subject is examined by one two-hour paper, composed of at least five questions of which two must be attempted. There will be a fifteen minute reading time during which the exam paper may be written on.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2014/15: 16

Average class size 2014/15: 8

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills