LAW5623 - Human rights and the European Union - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Quota applies

The unit can be taken by a maximum of 45 students (due to limited facilities and method of teaching).

Not offered in 2017


This unit seeks to further understanding of two highly dynamic yet overlapping areas of international law, the legal order of the European Union (EU) on the one hand and Human Rights Law on the other hand. The EU presents itself as a highly developed international organization producing directly applicable law for European citizens and stretching its competences well beyond what most ordinary international organizations have been endowed with to date. But can it also serve as a role model when it comes to human rights protection? To answer this question the course will cover the foundations of EU and Human Rights Law. We will scrutinize various sources of human rights and how they interact with the supranational legal order of the EU. In so doing topical legal developments such as the entry into force of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the forthcoming EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights will be discussed and evaluated.


On completion of this unit, a student should be able to:

  1. apply knowledge and understanding of the interaction between the EU legal order and International Human Rights Law;
  2. critically assess and evaluate the system of human rights protections operating within the European Union;
  3. investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information from the judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights and secondary materials on theoretical and practical perspectives relating to EU human rights law;
  4. use cognitive, technical and creative skills to identify human rights issues in factual scenarios and to develop complex arguments for appropriate legal responses to address these issues;
  5. communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, on complex human rights issues and the system of human rights protection in Europe and internationally; and
  6. reflect on and assess their own capabilities and performance, and make use of feedback on performance to support personal and professional development.


One research assignment (3,750 words): 50%

One take-home examination (3,750 words): 50%

Workload requirements

Students are required to attend 36 hours of lectures over the duration of this semi-intensive unit.

Chief examiner(s)


LAW7470 or an equivalent introductory unit at another university


LAW7155 or LAW7026