• Class Number 6523
  • Term Code 3370
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • AsPr Ryan Goss
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/11/2023
  • Class End Date 19/01/2024
  • Census Date 08/12/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/11/2023
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. Synthesise 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. Construct appropriate responses to a complex question of international and comparative human right law using a range of research principles, methods and tools;
  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. 

Required Resources

There is no prescribed textbook for this course. A full list of recommended and optional readings will be made available on Wattle two weeks prior to the course commencement date.

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 general feedback 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 specific feedback 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.

Please don’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.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

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

Extenuating Circumstances: https://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/extenuating-circumstances-application

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

Distribution of Grades Policy: 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 any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Pre-intensive0.1 Class introduction & framework, and comparativism Due to the nature of the material covered and issues discussed in this course, and to facilitate discussion and Q&A, most of our classes will not be recorded. Students are generally expected to attend all classes live online, but you will be provided with materials (eg readings and, after each day's classes, slides) that will be broadly sufficient to catch up. Introductory classes and classes covering logistics/mechanics of assessment tasks in detail will be recorded.Intention is for this to be available, recorded and online in advance of the class dates.
2 0.2 UN bodies & regional human rights institutions
3 0.3 The exceptions that prove the rule, and introducing proportionality
4 29 November 20231.1 The right to life Current intention is for this to be Live and non-recorded on Wed 29 Nov. Attendance via Zoom.
5 1.2 Torture and inhuman & degrading treatment or punishment
6 30 November 20232.1 Intro to freedom of expression Current intention is for this to be Live and non-recorded on Thurs 30 Nov. Attendance via Zoom.
7 2.2 Proportionality case law workshop exercise
8 1 December 20233.1 Cultural relativism and the margin of appreciation Current intention is for this to be Live and non-recorded on Fri 1 Dec. Attendance via Zoom.
9 3.2 ICHRL & gender
10 6 December 20234.1 Definitional workshop: thinking about deprivations of liberty Current intention is for this to be Live and non-recorded on Wed 6 Dec. Attendance via Zoom.
11 4.2 Deep dive seminar(s)
12 4.3 SPCtHR workshop exercise
13 7 November 20235.1 Intro to ESC rights Current intention is for this to be Live and non-recorded on Thurs 7 Dec. Attendance via Zoom.
14 5.2 IHRL in the domestic sphere
15 5.3 Research essay technique/ methods & course conclusion
16 8 December 20236.1 Course Q&A / Consultation time Current intention is for this to be Live and non-recorded on Fri 8 Dec and possibly an additional date. Attendance via Zoom.

Tutorial Registration

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

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short Quiz 30 % 14/12/2023 22/12/2023 1,4,5
Research Assignment 70 % 25/01/2024 19/02/2024 1,2,3,4,5,6

* 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.


For all courses taught in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program. Students are expected to attend all classes.

If circumstances arise which are beyond a student’s control and they are unable to attend a class, the student should contact the Course Convenor in advance (where possible), so that the convenor can adjust their expectations in relation to numbers for that class. If it is not possible to give advance notice, students should send the convenor an email as soon as possible with evidence to support the reason for failure to attend. 


There is no final examination for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 14/12/2023
Return of Assessment: 22/12/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5

Short Quiz

Details of Task: Short online quiz, to be completed within 90 minutes once you have commenced your attempt.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Weighting: 30%

Release: 5pm, 8 December 2023

Duration: 90 minutes. Students can choose when to commence the quiz, but once you have commenced your attempt, you will have 90 minutes to complete it. The quiz will finish after 90 minutes and any open attempts will close and be submitted automatically. Please allow sufficient time to complete your attempt.

Word Limit: Answer length will vary according to the question, but the expectation is that each answer will be no longer than 450 words.

Due Date: 5pm, 14 December 2023. Due to the nature of the task, late submission is not permitted. If you experience extenuating circumstances and cannot attempt the assessment by the due date and time, you should apply for an extension here. The College will give you one final opportunity to complete the assessment, at the same time one week later. If you have already accessed the assessment, you will not be approved an extension and will need to complete the task by the due date.

Estimated Return Date: 22 December 2023

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: 25/01/2024
Return of Assessment: 19/02/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research Assignment

Details of Task: A number of potential research assignment topics will be released by no later than 1 December. 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 14 December.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Weighting: 70%

Word Limit: 4,250 words. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here.

Submission Requirements: Footnotes should be used for the referencing of all sources. All references should be compliant with the current edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.

Due Date: 5pm, 25 January 2024. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply.

Estimated Return Date: 19 February 2024

Assessment Criteria:

a) 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

b) 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

c) Argument/Analysis

  • 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

d) Research

  • 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

e) 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.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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 in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). Electronic copies in .pdf file format are not acceptable.

Hardcopy Submission

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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 tests or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been granted an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time will be provided in writing. Importantly, any revised due date is inclusive of weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date will be penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the task per 24-hour period.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

All marks and feedback will be provided by the return date listed in the class summary, via Turnitin/Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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 website.

AsPr Ryan Goss

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions