The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


5000 level

Course handbook


This course is designed to expose students to the theory, law and practice of human rights protection. It is primarily concerned with international law, however students will have several opportunities to explore the interaction between international and domestic human rights protections, and consider Australia's interactions with human rights law. The course begins with a consideration of human rights theory and the international human rights framework. It proceeds with investigation of how human rights can be protected and enforced, primarily through the lens of the United Nations human rights systems. Students will have the opportunity to explore special interest topics, including the rights of Indigenous peoples, the rights of refugees, and the rights of women. The course will conclude with an exploration of the roles and responsibilities of lawyers in relation to human rights protection, and activities focused on human rights law reform.

International Human Rights Law is taught as a blended course. Students will be required to attend 2 hours of seminars weekly throughout the semester. Students will also complete online learning modules in advance of each seminar.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the international human rights framework, its origins and justifying theories;

2. Demonstrate capacity to assess how specific human rights may be asserted, enforced or violated;

3. Critically evaluate the relationship between international and domestic law on human rights;

4. Demonstrate understanding of the role of lawyers in human rights protection and capacity to contribute to ongoing processes of law reform;

5. Demonstrate high-level skills in legal research, evaluation, oral and written communication, and advocacy.


Topics in the course include the following:

  1. Origins and theories of human rights
  2. International framework of human rights law
  3. Protection and enforcement of human rights - the United Nations human rights system.
  4. State-level protection of human rights principles - Australia's human rights law and practice.
  5. Special topics in human rights, including the rights of Indigenous peoples, refugees and women
  6. Lawyers’ roles in relation to human rights
  7. Human rights law reform


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS1010, LAWS1011, LAWS1020, LAWS1021, LAWS2030, LAWS3040, LAWS3041, and LAWS4001.

Assessment items

Participation: Attendance - it is a compulsory requirement for students to attend at least 80% of seminars

Online Learning Activity: Quizzes within online learning modules

Presentation: Presentation and case report

Written Assignment: Written mock government inquiry submission

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Online Activity

Online 12 hour(s) per Term Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term