Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


6000 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 international 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 hour seminars weekly throughout the 12 weeks of semester. Students will also complete online learning modules in advance of each week’s seminar.

Availability2021 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2021

Learning outcomes

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

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

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

3. Demonstrate advanced skills in critically evaluating the relationship between international and domestic law on human rights;

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

5. Demonstrate advanced skills in legal research, evaluation, oral and written communication, and advocacy.


The topics in this 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 Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Master of Laws, or a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) combined program.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6000 Legal System and Method I, and LAWS6001 Legal System and Method II

LAWS6002A Torts Part A, or LAWS6120 Torts I

LAWS6002B Torts Part B, or LAWS6121 Torts II

LAWS6003A & LAWS6003B Criminal Law & Procedure Part A & B, or LAWS6130 Criminal Law & Procedure

LAWS6004A Contracts Part A, or LAWS6140 Contracts I

LAWS6004B Contracts Part B, or LAWS6141 Contracts II

LAWS6005 Property

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

Online learning modules to the equivalent of 16 hours across four weeks of study.


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

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.