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Capita Selecta - Human Rights Law


This course is set up as a Capita Selecta type of course. It explores several topics that are in the forefront of human rights discourse and/or constitute emerging themes that deserve more attention than could be covered in the other courses against the backdrop of the ever evolving conceptualization of human rights in today’s pluralist world. As a consequence the subject matter of this course may change over the years.
For the academic year 2019-2020 the following topics are envisaged:
-refugee and migration law
-theory and practice of social rights
-human rights and climate change
-local authorities and international human rights (t.b.c.)

To conclude not just this course, but also the years teaching, we look ahead at the future of human rights regarding a specific theme at a special conference organized for the occasion; the topic of this conference will be selected in due time.

Students gain profound knowledge and understanding regarding the topics covered;
students can articulate and discuss the main debates and latest developments regarding the topics covered;
students can assess and evaluate how these debates and developments may play out in concrete legal cases.
students get acquainted with participating in an academic conference on a topical human rights issue*

Mode of instruction

  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10 Lectures/seminars of 2 hours each

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. E.S. Arenas Catalán (coordinator); dr. Mark Klaassen and guest lecturers (t.b.c.)

  • Required preparation by students: read the compulsory course materials; participation in class, prepare questions and cases; prepare individual and/or group presentations; find and analyze additional materials to prepare for such assignments.

Assessment method

  • Written Take-Home Paper on refugee and migration law (40% of the final mark).

  • Written closed-book exam on the theory and practice of social rights (40% of the mark).

  • Written Take-Home Essay regarding the lectures of the guest lecturers (20% of the final mark).

Reading List

  • YES, on Brightspace

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. Eduardo Arenas Catalán

  • Contact information: Leiden University, Faculty of Law, Institute of Public Law
    Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw, Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden, Room number B133
    Tel. +31 71 527 5054


  • Institute: Public law

  • Administration advanced masters: BIO

  • Mahshid Alizadeh LLM,

Disclaimer: This course description has been updated to the best of our knowledge at the current time of publishing. Due to the evolving nature of the Covid 19 pandemic and possible changes in lockdown regulations, however, all information contained within this course description is subject to change up to 1 September 2020. Since it is uncertain how the Covid 19 pandemic will develop after 1 September 2020, further changes to the course description may be unavoidable. However, these can only be made in the event of strict necessity and only in the circumstances where the interests of the students are not impinged. Should there be a need for any change during the duration of the course, this will be notified to all students in a timely manner and will not be to the prejudice of students. Modifications after 1 September 2020 may only be done with the approval of the Faculty Board.