Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
The LLM International Human Rights Law is your opportunity to explore the way that international law is used to protect human rights and enables you to gain expertise in a distinct yet relatively broad specialism. You will combine core and elective modules to gain an international perspective on this highly-relevant field of law. The degree is taught by the research-active academics based in our prestigious Law School and offers you the opportunity to engage with teaching staff who are working at the forefront of International Human Rights research.
Our Law School is home to the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, the Centre for Law and Society, and the Centre for Child and Family Justice; these influential centres underpin our postgraduate teaching, which is research-led and research-informed.
There are two pathways for the LLM, both of which enable you to pursue your own interests:
Your core modules are International Law, International Human Rights Law and the LLM Dissertation. The modules in International Law and International Human Rights Law will address key questions such as how international laws protect, govern and define your human rights and inter-state relationships. You will evaluate the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights protected through international instruments and explore the way that international law is used to shape the world in which we live.
The dissertation is an independent, in-depth inquiry into a research topic of your choosing. The topic will link to a key legal question or issue and may also directly relate to your professional/career interests. This is your opportunity to make a contribution to the legal and academic community with new, original research and writing. A dissertation supervisor will provide you with support and introduce you to relevant legal material and research; their personal research interests will closely align with your chosen topic wherever possible.
We pride ourselves on the choice and breadth of elective modules available, offering you access to sought-after expertise in high-demand areas and growing fields such as The Rights of Peoples, Law and Global Health, International Terrorism and the Law, Gender, Sexualities and Human Rights, and International Environmental Law.
Our teaching approach is international in scope and comparative by nature, and we actively encourage you to build a beneficial network of academics, peers and alumni during your time with us. All of this will help you to broaden your experience, deepen your understanding, and prepare for your next step.
Your postgraduate LLM degree opens doors to a huge range of careers. You will develop the skills required to critically evaluate research relating to international human rights law; skills which are highly prized by employers both here in the UK and overseas. The analytical and communications skills developed through your studies are a real boost in any sector. The LLM is also an ideal stepping stone to PhD study and academia.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Diverse and fascinating: the rules, laws and customs that govern inter-state relationships come into sharp focus in this module. It provides you with a base from which you can further your study of specific areas of international law.
As we explore the essential elements of international law, and the way that they are used to shape the world in which we live, you will gain an in-depth understanding of both theory and practice. You will be given ‘real’ examples of international law to critically assess, allowing you to identify its shortcomings and challenges.
You will be introduced to fundamental principles and concepts of international law and to some topical issues:
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded international lawyers and research-active lecturers - you will benefit from their expertise as they teach on areas closely aligned with their own research interests.
How do international laws protect, govern and shape your human rights?
This course provides an overview of the various rights that are protected through international instruments: civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
You will also be given a general introduction to regional and universal systems for human rights protection and promotion. This will focus on the UN human rights system but you will be encouraged to take a comparative view of regional human rights protection systems.
You will gain a substantive and procedural knowledge of human rights through the international system. And you’ll engage with some key debates in this legal arena, such as the development of human rights and the human rights obligations of non-state actors.
To get the most from this module, you will have some knowledge of general international law and have a law or social science background.
The dissertation is an independent, in-depth inquiry into a research topic of your choosing. The topic will relate to a key legal question or issue and may also directly relate to your professional/career interests.
This is your opportunity to make a contribution to the legal and academic community with new and original research and writing on a legal issue.
LLM 100: The dissertation is a compulsory component with a 20,000-word limit. It represents 80 credits (45%) of your degree weighting.
LLM 200: The dissertation is a compulsory component with a 15,000-word limit. It represents 60 credits (34%) of your degree weighting.
Please note: topics can only be approved if the University has sufficient sources for the research and the necessary staff expertise for supervision.
National and ethnic tensions lie at the heart of many contemporary international conflicts. But what are the rights of peoples, national minorities and indigenous peoples under international law?
Our Rights of Peoples module takes an in-depth look at this key question and encourages you to critically explore the idea of a national identity and relations between groups within states.
In particular, you will examine:
A combination of independent reading and regular seminars with our highly-regarded, research-active lawyers and academics will provide you with a sound grasp of this fascinating and highly-relevant legal area.
The module is based on the convenor’s monograph, Peoples and International Law, which has been cited before and in the ICJ.
What are the merits of international criminal justice? And what are the main challenges that present themselves in this area of law?
This module provides you with an opportunity to consider these key questions as you benefit from an introduction to substantive international criminal law.
You will explore the central theme of international crimes, deepening your understanding of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Within your analysis, you will address the role of international courts and tribunals, mixed and hybrid courts and tribunals, as well as developments in national courts.
This is your chance to critically engage with stimulating examples of prosecution and punishment, which are central to the subject of international criminal law. Your studies will be informed by the convenor’s cutting-edge research on transitional criminal justice and retrospective justice.
A combination of independent reading and regular seminars will provide you with a sound grasp of this fascinating legal discipline.
The right to adequate food is one of the fundamental human rights as provided for in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This module will have its foundation in international human rights law, but will go beyond the legal framework and address the right to adequate food as part of broadly defined food security. The module addresses the right to adequate food from a political, social and environmental perspective, and includes a study of the normative content of the right, and the corresponding obligations. Furthermore, the students will work on case-studies which provide examples of situations where the right to food is threatened or violated, such as through destruction of land for food production, the need to resort to food banks in industrialised countries, or situations where poverty results in poor and unhealthy diets.
This module seeks to examine law in its social and cultural context, focusing specifically on its gendered context. It is socio-legal in emphasis. In other words, the module examines laws less for their own sake than for what they reveal about the role of law, and its operation in practice. In so doing, the module offers both theoretical and practical engagements with the law and assesses the contribution a feminist perspective can offer to understand socio-legal relations. The module will look, for example, at law’s theoretical underpinnings and its assumptions about the individual. The module will explore various areas of both public and private law and examine law’s role in challenging, creating or reproducing gender relations and the ways in which the law is used to reward and punish different forms of gendered and sexual conduct and identity.
How does the law impact on global health challenges? How is legal governance of global health developing? And what are the challenges facing this important area of law?
Law and Global Health is your chance to examine the growing intersection of international law with global health risks. Our approach enables you to deepen your understanding of abstract theoretical issues before applying them to ‘real life’ examples. We will take a unique approach in considering all steps from law-making to the enforcement of international standards.
We will critically explore a range of contemporary issues, including the threat to global health from infectious diseases such as pandemic influenza and Ebola. We will also consider the structural challenges presented by non-communicable diseases such as obesity.
Rigorous reflection and critical discussion will centre on the current governance challenges including the migration of health care workers, intellectual property rights and benefit sharing amongst international community. The module ends by considering plural systems of norms and law in international health governance, and, their advantages and limitations.
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded and research-active lecturers. This module links with the convenor’s expertise in global health governance and his research in West Africa, global aviation standards and the threat of global pandemics.
European Union law impacts on the daily life of half a billion people and is currently facing serious challenges, which makes it an incredibly compelling subject to study.
Our module, European Union Law, will help you to develop a thorough understanding of this area of law by focusing on both perennial and contemporary issues.
We will take on controversial topical questions that have been the subject of public and academic debate - the subjects we’ll cover include:
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded, research-active lecturers. You will benefit from their expertise as they teach on areas closely aligned with their own research interests.
We live in a world where an increasing amount of business is conducted across international borders. International Business Law and Institutions (WTO)considers the role of law, institutions, law makers and regulators in the international business environment.
You will look at the international legal and institutional framework that regulates transnational business and you will analyse the nature of legal and regulatory arrangements, including:
A combination of independent reading and regular seminars with our highly-regarded, research-active lawyers and academics will provide you with a sound grasp of this fascinating legal area.
Our world is facing an ever-increasing number of global environmental challenges. This engaging module examines the international legal response to those challenges.
We will delve into the socio-economic, political and scientific implications of environmental problems. As we do so, we will assess the impact of those implications on law and policy-making.
The module focuses on a number of contemporary environmental problems: climate change, marine pollution, the protection of international watercourses, fisheries and biodiversity, and the relationship between trade and the environment. You will assess the strengths and inadequacies of the law in regulating each of these issues.
Your studies will also include:
You will be taught by lecturers who are specialists in their field and active researchers. Current, cutting-edge research within the teaching team informs this module.
Terrorism continues to be one of the greatest global challenges we face in the pursuit of international peace, stability and security.
This is a stimulating module that explores concepts from many areas of the law, including civil liberties, international law, criminal justice and human rights.
In the course of your studies you will look at the legal definitions of terrorism – from a regional, national, and international perspective. And you’ll have the opportunity to use counter-terrorism case studies to examine specific aspects of preventative justice measures.
This is a fast-moving and unpredictable area of law, so the material that we cover may change in order to track the prevailing issues and latest developments. However, you will consider civil liberties alongside some of the contemporary challenges facing domestic and international legal systems.
The examination of the topics is carried out through a vigorous interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach – offering you greater understanding and appreciation of the subject matter.
International organisations such as the UN, EU, NATO and IMF play a prominent role in international society. All have rights and obligations under international law but they also hold different positions, exhibit their own personalities, and establish differing systems and structures.
This module seeks to make the concept of international organisations (and their rights and obligations under international law) familiar to you.
In the course of your studies you will look at the structure, membership, law-making powers and accountability of international organisations, taking the United Nations system as your particular focus.
You will also be encouraged to critically analyse the interplay between these prominent organisations and the current body of international law.
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded international lawyers and research-active lecturers. The convenor of this module has recently contributed the chapter on International Organisations for the Oxford Handbook on Jurisdiction.
This module will enable you to develop your independent research skills in preparation for your dissertation module. It also provides you with the opportunity to study an area of law that is currently unavailable within our optional modules.
The module structure includes a seminar on Research, Methodology and Writing, workshop sessions and regular meetings with your supervisor to track your progress and help you to set work plans.
Three main questions arise when civil and commercial disputes before the English courts contain an international element. These are the questions that you will tackle in this thought-provoking module:
How do we decide which court can legitimately claim jurisdiction in relation to the dispute?
Which system of law will the court claiming jurisdiction apply to the dispute?
And, once a decision has been reached by the courts in one country, under what circumstances will that decision be recognised or enforced in the other country or countries?
For example: a contract between an English company and a French company is to be performed in Germany. Should the French, the German or the English courts hear the dispute? Should the contract be governed by French, German or English law? And, if the dispute is decided in England by an English court applying French law, can this decision be enforced against a German defendant in Germany?
This module is delivered through a series of intensive seminars facilitating discussion between you, your peers, and the lecturer who is a recognised expert in the commercial conflict of laws. The module is informed by the lecturer's cutting-edge research on issues at the forefront of legal knowledge. You will be encouraged to form your own considered views on contentious issues
How have the principles of environmental law developed? How effective is the environmental law of England and Wales?
Law students and students from Lancaster Environment Centre study side by side on this module. This presents you with a rare interdisciplinary opportunity to share ideas and perspectives between lawyers and scientists. Together, we will explore the sources, principles and effectiveness of environmental law in England and Wales.
Within your studies you will investigate the efficacy and effect of environmental law. Topics analysed include: water pollution, the history of environmental law, green criminology and the protection of the countryside. The module then builds upon this critical analysis to explain how the aqueous, atmospheric and terraneous environments are protected by law.
Environmental law is taught by research-active academics who will introduce you to their cutting-edge research into green criminology, access to the countryside, market mechanisms and environmental protection. This research informs their teaching and you can choose an essay based on these topics or develop your own question with the support of our lecturers.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the 'internationalisation' of family law and the consequent study and practice of family law has become increasingly globalized. Cross border families experience problems which extend beyond national boundaries, often involving the laws of one or more States, and where the parties reside in, or are citizens of, different states. The issues include international adoption, child abduction, divorce, custody and cross boarder maintenance.
The overall aim of this module is to introduce students to the role of law in transitional justice and peacebuilding and to provide an overview of the prevailing themes, issues and challenges faced within the field. The module will allow students to examine and critically assess the development and efficacy of various institutions and processes designed to deal with grave & systematic human rights violations in countries which are in transition from conflict or repression, to peace. Students will explore and critically evaluate various mechanisms such as truth commissions and assess their impact and contribution within the wider context of peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. Contemporary challenges in the field such as the inclusion of economic and social rights and gender issues will also be explored.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Undergraduate Degree: 2:1 (Hons) degree (UK or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.
If you have studied outside of the UK, you can check your qualifications here: International Qualifications
English Language: IELTS - Overall score of at least 6.5, with no individual element below 5.5
We consider tests from other providers, which can be found here: English language requirements
If your score is below our requirements we may consider you for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes
Pre-sessional English language programmes available:
4 Week Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5
10 Week Overall score of at least 5.5, with at least 5.5 in writing and no individual element below 5.0
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on Fees and Funding; Faculty Scholarships and Funding; Law School Fees and Funding
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