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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 22/06/2022 15:55:14

Title of Module: International Human Rights Law

Code: LAWW09018 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Dale   McFadzean

Summary of Module

This module enables students to obtain both essential knowledge of, and critical insight into, issues relating to international human rights law. The module examines the international human rights system within its contemporary context. The module aims to provide students with a broad and critical understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of human rights, the role and functions of the key institutions that make up the international human rights community, the response of these institutions to current human rights issues, and the current themes and debates affecting human rights on the world stage. Seminar topics will reflect current issues in international human rights law and will include areas such as the emergence of international human rights, the UN human rights system, the right to life, fair trial, equality and non-discrimination, individual and minority group protection, human rights obligations of corporations, and regional mechanisms of protection.

  • Provide detailed knowledge and understanding of the international framework for the protection of human rights.

  • Provide detailed knowledge and understanding Europoean Human Rights Law including the role and functions of the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Engage in critical analysis of current themes and debates affecting human rights on the world stage.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
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Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the legal framework for the protection of human rights under international law.

L2. Investigate, analyse and evaluate international human rights law concepts as they have developed within the jurisprudence of public international law.

L3. Make effective use of library and electronic resources to acquire specialist legal information.

L4. Analyse legal problems and apply legal principles to propose solutions.

L5. Demonstrate relevant academic and professional skills required for successful employment within the law and business sectors.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Understanding of the ways in which international human rights law has developed;

Critical understanding of the principle theories, concepts and terminology used within international human rights law;

Detailed knowledge of a variety of specialist topics within the area of international human rights law;

Evaluating the effectiveness of international human rights law in relation to its defined purposes.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Interpreting and explaining legal concepts;

Retrieving, interpreting and manipulating primary and secondary legal information from a variety of sources including electronic sources.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Giving reasoned opinions, identifying flaws in legal arguments and discriminating between the legally relevant and irrelevant;

Bringing together information from a variety of primary and secondary legal sources.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Communicating effectively and appropriately in speech and writing;

Interpreting complex primary legal materials;

Making effective use of legal information retrieval systems and using information technology applications to present legal information in an appropriate form.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Exercising and applying appropriate learning and research skills with minimum supervision;

Working effectively, together with others in groups or teams;

Systematically identifying and addressing learning needs both in current and in new areas.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Public Law I
Public Law II
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
There will be some introductory lectures to introduce the basic concepts of international human rights law and to plan the learning activities for the remainder of the trimester. Most class meetings will take the form of seminars at which a small group of students, or an individual, will give a presentation on a topic chosen from the syllabus and will lead a discussion. There will also be a small number of tutorials providing an opportunity of developing the skills of analysis, interpretation and evaluation. A range of study materials will be available on Moodle. Students will be supported and encouraged in the use of primary legal source materials.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

P Alston and Ryan Goodman, International Human Rights (OUP, 2013)

A Bisset, Blackstone's International Human Rights Documents, 9th ed (OUP, 2014)

C Gearty and C Douzinas (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights Law (CUP, 2012)

Reed & Murdoch, Human Rights Law in Scotland, (4th Edition, Bloomsbury, 2017)

Finch & McGroarty, Human Rights Law Essentials, (EUP, 2010)

Harris & Moeckli, International Human Rights Law, (OUP, 2013)

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardAccounting, Finance and Law
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelAccounting, Finance & Law
ModeratorCarolynn Gray
External ExaminerDavid Hill
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
An essay worth 100% of the final mark. Students will be expected to complete a project on a current topic in international human rights law.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark1004
Combined Total For All Components100% 4 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Every effort will be made to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School. The module has been designed to take account of increases in the diversity of the student body and in this respect, the approach is "learner centred". Staff are expected to work alongside students and learning support staff to personalise the delivery of this module. This module offers students the opportunity to celebrate differences in personal, academic and employability skills. Through the use of problem based activities, students are encouraged to explore and share diverse experience of learning and skills development.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.