LL404E      Half Unit
European and UK Human Rights Law

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Conor Gearty NAB 6:11


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 has two parts. In part one the origins, development and current standing of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are considered. The 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', 'living instrument' and proportionality to close scrutiny. The goal of this part 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'. The second part of the course is 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. This part of the course will identify the principles that underpin the UK Act and explain its proper place in British law. It will also explore the wider constitutional implications of the measure, looking at its effect on the relationship between courts and Parliament. Linkages with the broader European framework discussed in the first part will be made by students through their reading and through class-engagement. The implications for human rights of the UK's intended departure from the EU will also be considered.


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

Jacobs and White, The European Convention on Human Rights 7th edn (OUP, 2017) and/or Harris, O'Boyle and Warbrick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights 3rd edn (Oxford, 2014). The text on the UK is Gearty, On Fantasy Island. Britain, Strasbourg and Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2016).  Also useful is Mowbray, Cases and Materials on the European Convention on Human Rights 3rd edn (Oxford, 2012).  Kavanagh, Constitutional Review under the UK Human Rights Act (Cambridge, 2009), Hickman Public Law after the Human Rights Act (Hart, 2010) and Gearty, Principles of Human Rights Adjudication (Oxford University Press, 2004).  


Assessment path 1
Essay (100%, 8000 words).

Assessment path 2
Take-home assessment (100%).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills