LAW30310 European Human Rights Law

Academic Year 2022/2023

European Human Rights Law provides a detailed exploration on select rights contained within the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Students will engage with key doctrinal underpinnings of ECHR law. Detailed engagement with key case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will illuminate interpretations of Convention rights, including how interpretation may change over time. In addition, this module may adopt a socio-legal and comparative approach on key debates relating to ECHR law. This may include engaging in arguments relating to legitimacy, interpretation and evolution of rights protection by the ECtHR throughout each of the substantive topics on this course.

The module is assessed by a closed book end of trimester examination (100%).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module, a student, who has attended lectures and engaged with directed readings, will be able to:

(a) Describe and evaluate procedural requirements for bringing a rights complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
(b) Understand the ‘place’ of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the Irish legal system.
(c) Engage with debates on the challenges facing the ECtHR, from legitimacy, scope, over-reach and a range of other critiques.
(d) Critically analyse the jurisprudence of the ECtHR in relation to a range of substantive rights, focusing on issues of interpretation and evolution of rights under the ECHR.
(e) Distinguish, apply and critique the case law of the ECtHR.

Indicative Module Content:

Substantive topics for 2023 will be (subject to any amendment):
(1) The ECHR, ECtHR, institutional competencies and relationship with Irish law;
(2) the right to life;
(3) freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment;
(4) the ECHR and criminal law;
(5) the ECHR and LGBTQ+ rights;
(6) the ECHR and migration at sea
(7) freedom of expression and hate speech
(8) freedom of thought, conscience and religion & the right to education
(9) the application of the ECHR to armed conflict situations and other emergencies ‘threatening the life of the nation’
(10) the right to privacy (Art.8) - surveillance aspects.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is lecture based, with student engagement and interaction required throughout lectures.

Students will be directed to relevant reading in lecture reading lists. PowerPoints will be available to students prior to each lecture. At relevant points of the course, students may be directed to prescribed reading, which must be engaged with prior to the lecture. This will assist in ensuring lecture based student discussion and analysis of key areas of legal controversy, and this will be an essential part of this course.

Approaches to teaching and learning will will include: reflective learning, case-law based learning and critical thinking approaches to ECHR law. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Two-hour end of trimester closed book examination. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Utilise student consultation hours: Should students require feedback on their learning for this module, then students are encouraged to self-assess their learning, and seek clarification from the relevant lecturer who delivered that topic, by arranging to meet the lecturer during their student office hours. Class feedback will be provided on the examination. Individual feedback will be offered once final grades are published by UCD, and students follow UCD School of Law requirements for requesting a script viewing/meeting with module coordinator. This will occur in June 2023. Further details will be sent to you on Brightspace. Individual feedback outside the School of Law process cannot be facilitated.

Students will be provided with topic by topic reading lists in this course.

Students will be referred (as appropriate) to the following primary legal materials:

(1) European Convention on Human Rights;
(2) Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (available through;
(3) European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 (as amended).

Students will be referred (as appropriate) to the following secondary legal materials.

(A) Textbooks
*E-Book*: Harris, O’Boyle and Warbrick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights(4thedn, 2018, OUP). There are several copies of this text available in UCD Library, but most importantly, this is available online as an e-book through OUP Law Trove.

*E-Book*: Janneke Gerards, General Principles of the European Convention on Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
This book offers a clear insight into the concepts and principles that are key to understanding the ECHR and the ECtHR's case-law. It explains how the Court generally approaches the many cases brought before it and which tools help it to decide on these cases, illustrated by numerous examples taken from the Court's judgements. This is available online, through UCD Library, as an e-book.

*E-Book*: Bernadette Rainey and others, Jacobs, White and Ovey The European Convention on Human Rights (8th edition: OUP, 2020), available in UCD Library and as an e-book on OUP Law Trove.

Other texts may be placed on reading lists.

(B) Journal Articles
You should get used to consulting some leading journals on issues in relation to European human rights law. All journal articles you are referred to in this course, will be available from UCD Library online.

Name Role
Ms Stephanie FitzPatrick Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Amrei Muller Lecturer / Co-Lecturer