HUMAN RIGHTS - LAW OF THE ECHR - 2025/6

Module code: LAW2103

Module Overview

This module is intended to introduce students to the protection of human rights in Europe, with the focus
placed on rights protection under European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Students should develop a strong, critical understanding of the basic doctrinal concepts, develop the ability to critically
analyse relevant case law originating from many jurisdictions covered by the ECHR, and engage with
scholarly debates relating to the development of rights protection. The module focuses on selected topics
and case studies, considering provocative moral, legal and political questions involved. The module also
engages with contemporary debates on the legitimacy of the ECHR and its case law, and on the future of
the ECHR.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

O'MEARA Noreen (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 60

Lecture Hours: 16

Tutorial Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 48

Captured Content: 16

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative content includes -

 


  • Introduction to the ECHR and European Court of Human Rights, and their evolution.

  • Principles of interpretation (including evolutive interpretation, margin of appreciation, European consensus, and proportionality) and analysis of the role of positive obligations.

  • Key provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, with in-depth analysis of selected substantive rights.

  • Legal and policy issues relating to legitimacy and reform of the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Relationships between UK and the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Revision of topics covered during the module.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination Online 4 HOUR ONLINE EXAM 100

Alternative Assessment

None

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their thorough understanding of the Convention system, its case law and relevant academic literature. The formative assessment focuses on selected key doctrines and/or substantive provisions of the ECHR, which are further tested in the summative assessment. The summative assessment tests the learning outcomes, identifying and rewarding students’ analytical skills and demonstration of knowledge.  In formative and summative assessments, students are encouraged to address themes from across the module and demonstrate a high level of knowledge of the ECHR’s approach to interpretation.

Formative assessment and feedback:
Students will be given the opportunity to complete a short formative assessment.  Feedback will be provided to support students’ development.  Written feedback is provided on formative assessments, and oral feedback is provided in tutorials, in revision lectures and during consultation hours.  Students will get verbal feedback on their performance during the moot court and for participation in the discussions.

Summative Assessment:
Students will complete an online 4-hour summative exam.  The questions will test a variety of topics covered on the module. This encourages students to engage deeply in a range of topic areas for the assessment, and allows us to test whether students can make connections across the topics in the module.  Questions will be designed to allow students to show that they have understood the basic doctrines and that they can analyse novel problems and issues relating to the protection of human rights in depth.  Students are expected to substantiate claims made by drawing on appropriate evidence.

The mature reflection on and implementation of formative and in-class feedback will build students’ resourcefulness and resilience in improving their performance in the module’s learning activities and assessments. The transferable skills developed during the module, including critical thinking and analysis, public speaking and communication skills, will enhance students’ academic capacity for future studies and enhance essential skills for their employability.

The assessment method for each module has been selected to test a variety of key skills, competencies and outcomes as required by QAA. As such, the assessment method cannot be changed. Reasonable adjustment may be made on application subject to ALS approval AND only where such adjustment still allows for the required skills, key competencies and outcomes to be assessed at an equivalent level.

Module aims

  • Provide an understanding of the role and evolution of the ECHR and the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Provide an understanding of essential principles of interpretation adopted by the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Provide an introduction to selected substantive rights, and their protection under UK law and the Convention.
  • To foster students' digital legal research skills by finding and using both ECtHR cases and relevant international sources.
  • To foster students' written and oral advocacy skills through mooting, thereby developing essential communication skills for employability.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Adopt a critical, analytical approach to human rights protection under the ECHR. CK
002 Critically discuss relevant judgments from (in particular) the European Court of Human Rights, identifying and assessing trends relating to the development of rights protection. CKT
003 Critically assess the ECHRs approaches to interpretation, and to substantive human rights in the ECHR. CK
004 Critically apply knowledge of the ECHR system of rights protection to argue about novel problems during class discussions, in a moot-court scenario and when answering essay questions. CKPT
005 Critically engage with relevant primary and secondary sources when undertaking independent reading and research. CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to complement the learning and teaching strategy across programmes. It does so by fostering knowledge and understanding of substantive topics through a diverse range of teaching methods. In addition to interactive lectures and tutorial sessions, this module involves mooting exercises which hone practical advocacy skills which will be useful for employability (eg. post-University interviews and future legal practice). As such, students are offered learning and feedback opportunities through lectures, tutorials, online and in consultation hours, supporting students to be resourceful when self-reflecting on strategies to improve their performance.

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to ensure that students can understand the development of human rights protection, critically analyse relevant ECHR case law, and apply acquired knowledge to solve legal problems. The module further develops substantive knowledge and digital research skills acquired at Level 4, particularly when studying Public Law I. Knowledge of the foundations of the UK constitution is essential for exploring the UK’s legal obligations under the ECHR and the nature of protection it offers at Level 5. The teaching and learning strategy will extend students’ critical thinking by encouraging them to consider the UK-ECHR relationship in its historical and contemporary contexts.

The learning and teaching methods include 22 taught hours (8 x 2-hour lectures, 6 x 1-hour tutorials, including mooting), 4 hours discussion/revision workshops, 48 hours guided study and 60 hours of independent study.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAW2103

Other information

Employability: The inclusion of mooting is a key element of the learning and teaching strategy which enhances students’ employability. Mooting demands individual and group preparation of detailed legal arguments, the demonstration of oral advocacy and adeptness when asking and reacting to questions. It also demands the development of fluent, accurate and detailed communication skills. As such, mooting develops important transferable skills for employability which prepare students for professional life, particularly if aiming to practice at the Bar.


Digital capabilities and legal research: The nature of the topics on this module enhance students’ digital capabilities. From the outset, students will be using materials from a legal system that will be unfamiliar to them (e.g. accessing Treaties; finding, reading and analysing case law and materials from the Council of Europe and European Court of Human Rights). Successful students will quickly become adept at finding and reading relevant materials, and be prepared to discuss judgments and dissenting opinions in cases.


Sustainability: The environment is a transversal theme in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights. This module therefore fosters an understanding of sustainability through analysis of environmental case law at the European Court of Human Rights, particularly in relation to Articles 2, 3 and 8 ECHR. Students will be encouraged to critically reflect on the extent to which the ECHR engages with environmental issues, and the future role of the ECHR and Convention in this field.


Global and cultural capabilities: This module calls on students to actively read and analyse cases originating from across the 46 High Contracting Parties to the Convention. As such, students will explore new themes and issues from countries they will be unfamiliar with. This encourages reflection and discussion of relevant constitutional and cultural differences which may influence State action and inaction on human rights, as reflected in the ECHR’s jurisprudence.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law (Law, Environment and Sustainability Pathway) LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.