Not available in 2020/21
LL469      Half Unit
UK Human Rights Law

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Conor Gearty NAB 6.11


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Those seeking to take it will need to discuss this first with the course teacher: the course is quite legal in focus.

This course is capped at 30 students. 

Course content

This course will be made up of a detailed study of the UK Human Rights Act. The origins and the political background to the Act will be explained, and the structure of the measure will be fully elaborated, relying on the text of the Act itself but also on the burgeoning case law that accompanies the measure. The course will identify the principles that underpin the Act and explain its proper place in English law. It will also explore the wider constitutional implications of the measure, looking at its effect on the relationship between courts and Parliament. The political context in which the measure has had to operate will be considered, and the relationship with the change to human rights protection likely to follow the UK's departure from the EU will be considered.


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

There will be a reading week in week 6.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

The key text is now C A Gearty, On Fantasy Island. Britain, Strasbourg and Human Rights (OUP, 2016). See also R Costigan and R Stone, Civil Liberties and Human Rights (11th edn, OUP, 2017);

Kavanagh, Constitutional Review under the UK Human Rights Act (Cambridge, 2009);

Hickman, Public Law After the Human Rights Act (Hart, 2010);

Gearty, Principles of Human Rights Adjudication (Oxford University Press, 2004).

While these books will be referred to, students will also be expected to read cases: they will receive a detailed Reading list for each topic.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

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

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: 17

Average class size 2019/20: 17

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills