LAW5622 - Human dignity in comparative perspective - 2019

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.



Chief examiner(s)

Assoc Prof David Lindsay Researcher ProfileResearcher Profile (

Not offered in 2019


The unit will begin with a philosophical overview of the concept of human dignity and then enter into a historical examination of why human dignity has emerged as an important constitutional principle in international law and some jurisdictions. International and national experiences with human dignity as a constitutional and/or human rights principle will be critically examined. Particular attention will be paid to the role of human dignity in the so-called Arab Spring and its aftermath.


On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  • apply knowledge and understanding of the ways in which human dignity is codified and adopted in legal decision-making in select jurisdictions;
  • investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information concerning the various theories and approaches to human dignity;
  • conduct research into theoretical and practical approaches to the use of human dignity in legal decision-making;
  • use cognitive, technical and creative skills in articulating the relationship between human dignity as a legal concept and social, political and economic forces that impact upon the ways in which human dignity is understood and adopted in a given jurisdiction; and
  • provide and make use of feedback to assess their own capabilities and performance and to support personal and professional development.


  1. Class participation: 20%
  2. Reflective essay (1500 words): 20%
  3. Research paper (4500 words): 60%

Workload requirements

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