• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest International Relations, Law, Human Rights
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This is an advanced human rights law course, focusing on the international and comparative law of civil and political rights. Civil and political rights are at the heart of many of the most exciting contemporary battles over human rights law, its strengths and weaknesses, and directly shape the ways in which human rights law interacts with politics and the broader world. It is an enthralling and cutting-edge area to be thinking about, and vital to any understanding of human rights law.
This course in Advanced Civil & Political Rights is a course that builds on LAWS8234 (International Human Rights Law) in considering ways in which we can all 'do human rights law better'. This is a course designed for those students who found LAWS8234 rewarding and challenging, and who wish to go broaden and deepen the understanding of human rights law gained in that course with a particular focus on civil and political rights.
In Advanced Civil & Political Rights students will be encouraged to continue thinking about international human rights law from first principles, but to do so in the context of ‘deep dives’ into a number of cutting edge areas of considerable controversy in the contemporary international and comparative law of civil and political rights (including, for example, freedom of speech, capital punishment, and the rights of prisoners to vote).
In undertaking these deep dives, the course classes and reading materials will encourage you to consider and reconsider many assumptions commonly made about human rights law, and to think about the extent to which international human rights law may be considered consistent, predictable, internally coherent, and capable of acting as a guide to states, citizens, lawyers, officials, and judges. Our emphasis will be on examining examples of human rights reasoning in particular fields in fine detail, especially at the regional level. Students will be encouraged to read cases and primary sources closely and critically, and to build on skills and knowledge from the classroom in their research essays.
Criticism of the quality of legal reasoning in human rights documents/judgments will not be discouraged, 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 the foreign and/or international law of civil and political rights 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 use a range of research principles, methods and tools appropriate to respond to a complex question of the foreign and/or international law of civil and political rights;
  4. Identify and critically examine in written and oral form a range of perspectives and values that are relevant to the foreign and/or international law of civil and political rights;
  5. Explain and examine whether, and if so, to what extent, the foreign and/or international law of civil and political rights 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 foreign and/or international law of civil and political rights.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research essay (6,000 words); (70) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Quizzes and/or in-class tests (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours. Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP) Master of International Law and Diplomacy (MINLD); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD), have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses and have completed LAWS2250/LAWS6250 International Law; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Master of Military Law (MMILL). Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

The prescribed textbook will be International Human Rights by Philip Alston and Ryan Goodman, published 2013 by Oxford University Press. (NB that on some databases, this book is listed as a 2012 publication. If there is any confusion, check the ISBN code on the relevant website or in-store; the correct ISBN code for the prescribed book is ISBN-13: 978-0199578726).

Preliminary Reading

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

Assumed Knowledge

This course is designed as an advanced course following on from LAWS8234 International Human Rights Law.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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