Comparative Human and Constitutional Rights

  • Summer schools
  • Department of Law
  • Application code SS-LL209
  • Starting TBC
  • Short course: Closed
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

Please note: This course will not be running as part of the 2021 programme. However, you may be interested in our confirmed courses.

This course offers an introduction to comparative human and constitutional rights law.

We will study and critically compare landmark decisions from the world’s most influential and powerful courts dealing with some of the most controversial and important rights issues of our time, including abortion, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, religious symbols and religious dress in the public sphere, hate speech, social rights, same-sex marriage, life imprisonment, and the human rights of terrorists.

Session: TBC
Dates: TBC
Lecturers: Dr Kai Möller and Dr Sarah Trotter

Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One examination and one essay

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


An introductory course in a social science subject (for example: law, history, sociology, politics, international relations, economics), philosophy, or a related discipline.

Programme structure

Comparative human and constitutional rights: structure and methodology

The course begins with an introduction to the structure and basic doctrines of human and constitutional rights law and the nature and methodology of comparative law.


We will then study a range of important and controversial issues in human and constitutional rights law:

  • Abortion
  • Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide
  • Sexual Freedom and Sexual Morality
  • Same-Sex Marriage
  • Religion in the Public Sphere: Muslim Dress, Crucifixes, and the Ten Commandments
  • Hate Speech
  • Obscenity and Blasphemy
  • Socio-Economic Rights
  • Terrorism and Human Rights
  • Life Imprisonment
  • Gender Identity


These topics are approached by studying and comparing judgments from various highly respected courts all over the world, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Canadian Supreme Court, the South African Constitutional Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the U.K. Supreme Court, and the German Federal Constitutional Court. The courts’ decisions serve as a springboard for a critical discussion of the respective rights issue.


Course outcomes

The goals of the course are, first, to introduce the students to the jurisprudence of the above-mentioned powerful and influential courts, and, second, to develop the students’ skills to critically analyse and construct arguments about difficult and controversial human and constitutional rights questions.


LSE’s Law Department is one of the world’s best. In the UK, it was ranked first for research outputs in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) and in the top 5 law departments overall by The Complete University Guide in 2018. In the 2017 QS World University rankings, the Department was ranked seventh (out of 200 departments worldwide).

Many important subjects were first taught and examined systematically from an academic perspective in LSE’s Department of Law. We pioneered the study of banking law, taxation law, civil litigation, company law, labour law, family law, aspects of welfare law, and studies of the legal system and the legal profession, and continue to be the leading thinkers in our field.

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s law faculty.

Dr Kai Möller is an Associate Professor of Law in the Department of Law. Before joining the LSE in 2009, he was a Junior Research Fellow and previously a Lecturer in Jurisprudence at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He holds M.Jur., M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees from Oxford and a PhD in law from Freiburg University. His research is in the areas of comparative human and constitutional rights law, constitutional theory, and legal and political theory. His book The Global Model of Constitutional Rights was published by Oxford University Press in 2012 (paperback edition 2015). He was awarded the LSE Law Teaching Prize, and in 2014 he was shortlisted for the UK Law Teacher of the Year award. 

Dr Sarah Trotter is an Assistant Professor of Law in the Department of Law. Her research is about how particular categories (like ‘the child’ and ‘the individual’) are constructed in law and about the assumptions that are made in European human rights law and domestic law about relationships. She holds degrees from the LSE (LLB, PhD) and the University of Cambridge (LLM).

Reading materials

Essential readings

This course is mainly case-based; most of our work will consist of a critical engagement with judgments of constitutional and human rights courts all over the world. For every lecture, a course pack containing shortened versions of the relevant judgments will be made available to the students via the Moodle website for this course. Furthermore, additional readings will be set in support of lectures and as preparatory reading for the classes.

Reference book (it will not be necessary to purchase this book)

Jackson and Tushnet, Comparative Constitutional Law (3rd edition, 2014)

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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