The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
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 the comparative positions of various states. 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, and related gaps in human rights protection. Students will have the opportunity to select special topics for further study, 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 condensed and blended course. Students will be required to attend 20 hours of seminars across four days in the first month of semester. Students will also spend 16 hours completing weekly online learning modules across the four weeks of the course.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2017.

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
  4. State-level protection of human rights principles
  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

LAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1002A, LAWS1002B, LAWS2003A, LAWS2003B, LAWS3004A, LAWS3004B, LAWS3005, LAWS4001.

Assessment items

Participation: Active learning participation in seminars

Online Learning Activity: Quizzes and blog task within online learning modules

Presentation: Individual presentation prepared and delivered in seminar

Written Assignment: Written mock government inquiry submission