• Class Number 6717
  • Term Code 2950
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Ryan Goss
    • AsPr Ryan Goss
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/06/2019
  • Class End Date 09/08/2019
  • Census Date 05/07/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 24/06/2019
SELT Survey Results

This is a course on international and comparative human rights law. It is a course that aspires to consider ways in which we can all ‘do human rights law better’.

In this course students will be encouraged to think about international and comparative human rights law from first principles. The course classes and reading materials will encourage you to consider and reconsider many assumptions commonly made about human rights law, but also to answer this question: to what extent is human rights law consistent, predictable, internally coherent, and capable of acting as a guide to states, citizens, lawyers, officials, and judges?

In considering these questions, emphasis will be on examining examples of international human rights reasoning in fine detail, especially at the regional level. Students will be encouraged to read case extracts, and full cases, closely and critically. The extremely influential jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights will receive particular attention.

Criticism of the quality of legal reasoning in human rights documents/judgments will be encouraged, and it will not be assumed that broader, more expansive, legal protection of human rights is always a good thing.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain, distinguish and apply core and advanced concepts and terminology of international and comparative human rights law as used in the key primary and secondary sources;
  2. Design, implement and review a range of theoretical approaches to the primary and secondary source material;
  3. Identify and critically examine in written and oral form a range of perspectives and values that are relevant to international and comparative human rights law;
  4. Identify and use a range of research principles, methods and tools appropriate to respond to a complex question of international and comparative human rights law;
  5. Explain and examine whether, and if so, to what extent, human rights law provides coherent predictable consistent guidance to states, courts, lawyers, officials, and citizens; and
  6. Plan and execute a research project with independence in order to produce original scholarship on a particular identified area of human rights law.

Research-Led Teaching

In this course students will be encouraged to think about human rights law from first principles. The course classes and reading materials will encourage you to consider and reconsider many assumptions commonly made about human rights law, but also to answer this question: to what extent is the body of international human rights law consistent, predictable, internally coherent, and capable of acting as a guide to states, citizens, lawyers, officials, and judges? In so doing, the course is driven by A/Prof Goss' research on human rights law, and students are expected to frame independent research papers on the basis of this approach. Guidance will be provided on appropriate research techniques and methodologies. 

Additional Course Costs

This course is an intensive course taught at the ANU Acton Campus in Canberra. Students will need to cover costs associated with travel, accommodation, meals etc, if attending from out of State.

There is no prescribed textbook. Wattle will provide guidance on readings.

Staff Feedback

Feedback in this course will take a variety of forms:

  • In class, students will be provided with feedback on comments, arguments, and questions by the lecturer and (it is hoped) by their fellow students;
  • After the Short Quiz and the Research Essay, students will be provided with generalfeedback about common strengths and weaknesses that appeared in the class’ work overall;
  • After the Research Essay has been marked, students will also be provided with specificfeedback about their own written work, with an emphasis on constructive feedback that may be used by the students to improve their performance in future written work as part of their studies in this course or other courses.

Pleasedon’t let the dry mandatorily-bureaucratic language of these documents fool you: this is an exciting course about some fundamental legal questions, and it’s designed to be as interesting and thought-provoking as possible. NB that A/Prof Goss also teaches a second masters-level course, LAWS8247 Comparative Civil & Political Rights. That course is next scheduled to run in Aug 2019, and is in many ways a companion course to ICHRL, but with a slightly more comparative-law focus. 

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Extensions late submission and penalties - https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Distribution of Grades Policy: Effective from Winter Session and Second Semester 2018 (and until further notice), the interim scaling guideline applies to all courses in the LLB (Hons) and JD programs. Please see: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/grading

Further Information about the Course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for details on weekly classes and any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction & Comparativism (Day 1)
2 Treaty Monitoring Bodies & Regional Human Rights Institutions (Day 1)
3 The exceptions that prove the rule? (Day 1)
4 Group discussion and debate (Day 1)
5 The right to life (Day 2)
6 Torture and inhuman & degrading treatment or punishment (Day 2)
7 Cultural relativism and the margin of appreciation (Day 2)
8 Definitional workshop: Thinking about deprivations of liberty (Day 2)
9 Intro to freedom of expression (Day 3)
10 Expert Guest Session One [details TBC on Wattle] (Day 3)
11 Expert Guest Session Two [details TBC on Wattle] (Day 3)
12 International human rights law & gender (Day 3)
13 Intro to economic, social, and cultural rights (Day 4)
14 IHRL in the Domestic Sphere 1 (Day 4)
15 IHRL in the Domestic Sphere 2 (Day 4)
16 Wrap-up, plenary discussion, and research workshop (Day 4)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short Quiz 20 % 03/07/2019 19/07/2019 1,4,5
Research Assignment 70 % 12/08/2019 16/09/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6
Class Participation 10 % 28/06/2019 19/07/2019 1,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 19/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5

Short Quiz

Nature of Task: Short online quiz.

Weighting: 20%

Word limit: Answer length will vary according to the question, but the expectation is that each answer will be no longer than 250 words.

Release: Friday 28 June at 6pm

Due date: Wed 3 July at 11.59pm

Estimated return date: The expectation is that results will be available by Friday 19 July.

Assessment Criteria:

a) Content

  • answering the question asked
  • identification of the legal issues raised from the questions
  • legal principles states/explained with accuracy
  • legal principles stated/explained in appropriate detail
  • relevant facts recognised and linked to the legal principles
  • recognition and evaluation of judicial and statutory ambiguities and
  • originality/innovation in approach to issues
  • clear conclusions

b) Structure/organisation

  • emphasis on the significant issues
  • answer is coherent and structure logical

c) Expression

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and
  • spelling
  • adherence to word limit, if such a limit has been set.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 70 %
Due Date: 12/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 16/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research Assignment

Nature of Task:

Weighting: 70%

Word limit: 4,250 words maximum.

Release: A number of potential research assignment topics will be released by no later than Friday 28 June. Students may elect to research a question from this list of topics, or may elect to adjust one of these topics and research that adjusted topic, or may elect to research a topic of their own. However, if a student elects to adjust one of the topics or to research a topic of their own, approval must be sought by email before Friday 19 July.

Due date: 11.59pm on Monday 12 August

Estimated return date: Marks and feedback will be available via Wattle by Monday 16 September.

Assessment Criteria:

Understanding of the Issues

  • addresses the question and covers all the important points
  •  evidence of close consideration of the question and the research materials drawn on
  • issues raised by the topic are clearly and concisely identified
  • material chosen relates clearly to the topic and is analysed not just summarised or quoted extensively

Communication & Development of Argument

  • clear theme or argument, ideally outlined at the beginning of the piece and running throughout
  • arguments logical and well-organised in support of the clear theme or argument
  • ideas/paragraphs linked coherently in support of the clear theme or argument


  • originality of ideas and critical analysis of the material
  • complexity and insight in dealing with theory/ideas
  • suggestions for change where appropriate
  • interdisciplinary perspective where appropriate
  • addressing opposing arguments
  • well-reasoned conclusions


  • research covering primary materials and relevant secondary materials
  • good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used
  • use of theoretical material where appropriate
  • range of research sources
  • integration of material from research resources into the essay

Presentation, style and referencing

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling
  • full and accurate footnotes together with a bibliography
  • style according to Australian Guide to Legal Citation
  • adherence to word limit
  • adherence to principles of academic honesty and academic integrity

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 28/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 19/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Class Participation

Nature of Task: Class Participation

Weighting: 10%

Release: N/A

Due date: Ongoing

Estimated return date: Participation marks will be available via Wattle by Fri 19 July at the latest.

Assessment Criteria:

Preparation and understanding of the material

  • Consulting and reading pre-assigned materials in advance of the lectures/seminars
  • linking material between various aspects of the class and different lectures

Thinking critically about the material

  • Looking at questions from different angles
  • questioning assumptions

Expressing ideas clearly

  • So that other students and the instructor can understand them
  • Use of relevant examples

Engaging with other students and the lecturer in the discussion

  • Including encouraging others to speak
  • responding to what other students, and the lecturer, have said
  • being respectful for a range of views and opinions

 If possible, linking material with your own background and knowledge

  • Which involves relating the material to your own personal and professional experience

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Research Assignments will be returned by the ANU Law administrators by post or in person.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Ryan Goss

Research Interests

I'm a Queenslander at the ANU Law School working on constitutional law and human rights law. My bio, research interests, etc, can all be found on my ANU Law School site: https://lawschool.anu.edu.au/people/ryan-goss

AsPr Ryan Goss

Monday 12:00 12:30
AsPr Ryan Goss

Research Interests

AsPr Ryan Goss

Monday 12:00 12:30

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