LAWSG068B Comparative Human Rights Law B

LAWSG068B:COMPARATIVE HUMAN RIGHTS LAW B
Credit value: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS, 150 learning hours)
Convenor: Colm O’Cinneide
Other Teachers: Jeff King;
Silvia Suteu
Teaching Delivery: 10 x 2-hour weekly seminars, Term Two
Who may enrol: Any UCL Master’s student
Prerequisites: None
Must not be taken with: LAWSG068 Comparative Human Rights;
LAWSG068A Comparative Human Rights A
Qualifying module for: LLM in Comparative Law;
LLM in Human Rights Law
;
LLM in Public Law
Introductory video
Assessment
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay
Final Assessment: One 2-hour unseen written examination (100%)
Module Overview
Module summary:

The course will give the students a comparative overview of the systems of legal protection of human rights that exist some of the leading jurisdictions in the world, including the USA, UK, Germany, India, South Africa, Brazil, France and others, and the influence on these jurisdictions of international human rights instruments. Students will be introduced to the main issues relating to the protection of human rights, including the role of the courts, the constitutional status of human rights provisions, and the protection afforded to first, second and third generation rights. The course will enable students to apply the comparative method to the study of human rights law in a range of different jurisdictions, and to draw out core principles and lessons of general application from the material. This is not an international human rights course, although reference will be made to the ECHR and UN mechanisms as appropriate.

Module syllabus:

Part I: Introduction

  • The history of human rights protections in national constitutions; the ideology and theory of human rights; cultural interpretations of human rights; the form and substance of international human rights instruments and their influence on domestic constitutional provisions.

Part II: The Substantive Protection of Rights

This section will examine from a comparative perspective the protection of some of the following substantive rights in national jurisdictions:

  • The right to life and bodily integrity; various national definitions of “cruel and unusual punishment”; abortion in countries such as Ireland, the US, Germany and Canada
  • The right to free speech; censorship rules, hate speech restraints, internet controls and libel law; the right to privacy; the right to association and freedom of opinion/religious belief
  • The right to equality and non-discrimination; the nature and content of “equality” as a value; “equal protection”; formal equality v substantial equality; positive discrimination
  • Minority rights, and freedom of religion

Part III: Emerging Trends

  • New approaches and priorities in the context of the protection of fundamental rights, including the development of ‘transformative constitutionalism’ in Latin America and Africa, the evolution of constitutional rights protection in East Asia, and the new challenges posed to human rights by populist/authoritarian regimes.
Recommended materials:

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, available at the beginning of term once students have enrolled.

Students should regularly browse journals such as the International Journal of Constitutional Law and the European Human Rights Law Review.

Preliminary reading:

  • C. Harvey, ‘Talking About Human Rights’ (2004) European Human Rights Law Review 500
  • S. Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Belknap, 2010) – especially the Epilogue