EU463      Half Unit
European Human Rights Law

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kai Moller NAB 7.01


This course is available on the MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Human Rights and Master of Public Administration. 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 where space permits.


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 and South Africa. The right to freedom of religion and the issues of religious dress (in particular: headscarves and burqas) and religious symbols (in paricular: crucifixes in classrooms). The right to freedom of expression and the protection of religious feelings (e.g the Danish cartoons; Charlie Hebdo) and hate speech ( expression that attacks a group on the basis of a characteristic such as race or sexual orientation). The right to private life and the protection of  sexual liberty (gay sex, sado-masochism, and incest).  The right to vote and freedom of association, 'militant democracy', and the issues of banning political parties or preventing individual candidates from standing for election. Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and the issue of deportation and extradition. Theories of European human rights law.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 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 summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2017/18: 14

Average class size 2017/18: 13

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving