• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Human Sciences, Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Ryan Goss
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2025
    See Future Offerings

Comparative Human Rights is an exciting course focusing on ways in which domestic and international courts around the world have grappled with some of the most pressing contemporary human rights law issues.

With a case-law-driven approach, this course links human rights theory with doctrinal debates, lawyers’ arguments, and detailed analysis of judges’ decisions. In so doing we use the case law to explore many of the most exciting battles over human rights law, its strengths and weaknesses, and look at the many 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 reflects the University's longstanding strengths in public law, international law, and law reform and social justice.

This course allows students to develop intellectual and professional skills in human rights law, but also much more generally applicable skills of legal analysis and legal argument. The course also involves an exploration of the comparative method itself and the ways in which it may (or may not) help us better understand human rights challenges at home and around the world.

Students will be encouraged to think about human rights law from first principles, in the context of ‘deep dives’ into a number of cutting edge areas of considerable controversy (including, as possible examples, freedom of speech, reproductive freedoms, capital punishment, and the rights of prisoners to vote). Case law and primary sources are the focus.

In undertaking these deep dives, the course classes and reading materials will encourage students to consider and reconsider many assumptions commonly made about human rights law. Our emphasis will be on examining examples of human rights reasoning in judgments, in detail. 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 papers.

Criticism of the quality of legal reasoning in human rights documents/judgments will not be discouraged, and it will not always 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. Evaluate the key institutions, theoretical and technical tools of human rights law and comparative human rights law.
  2. Synthesise and apply knowledge of human rights law from key primary and secondary sources to propose solutions to contemporary human rights challenges.
  3. Review the relationship between human rights theory and doctrinal debates.
  4. Critically reflect on human rights law and its interaction with politics and the broader world.
  5. Plan and execute a research project in an area of comparative human rights law.

Other Information

NA

Indicative Assessment

  1. The proposed means of assessment for this course will provide students with at least two pieces of assessment, including one piece during the teaching period. More information about the means of assessment, including the relationship between the assessment and the learning outcomes of the course, will be available in the class summary and on the course WATTLE page. (100) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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.

Workload

  • Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught semi-intensively with compulsory contact hours of 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 three contact hours per week. Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course. 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

Inherent Requirements

NA

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (MLLM) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses; or Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS4601 Comparative Human Rights. 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 appropriate permission.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when finalised.

Preliminary Reading

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

Fees

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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
34
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
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.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3763 17 Feb 2025 24 Feb 2025 31 Mar 2025 23 May 2025 In Person N/A

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