Admission to the Masters programme (European Law specialisation), and hence: Bachelor degree in law and sufficient English knowledge.
The main purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. The emphasis will be on the European Conven¬tion on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. There are at least three reasons to address human rights in the context of the Master European Law. Firstly, the significance of human rights – both for the legitimacy of public authority and for the day-to-day functioning of the legal order – has only increased since World War II. Secondly, the case-law of the Court in Strasbourg adds considerably to the process of European integration. Common standards are identified and reinforced, even if the Court is often prepared to take into account national values and traditions. Thirdly, the EU itself is paying ever more attention to fundamental rights; the Treaty of Lisbon anticipates the accession by the EU to the ECHR. Knowledge of the European human rights system is therefore obviously an essential element of the study of Euro ean integration. In addition, the course serves as a foundation for other elements within the Masters programme, such as General Principles of EU Law. It is impossible to discuss all details of the Strasbourg case-law – for instance, in 2009 alone the Court decided well over 30,000 cases, and it has currently over 120,000 cases pending! We will therefore attempt to cover the most important cases that have come before the Court. These leading cases will illustrate how the Court approaches human rights, what principles have been developed in its case-law, and what their impact on the legal order of the States can be. At the same time, the discussion of the cases will make you familiar with the procedure followed under the European Convention.
Objectives of the course
The course “European Protection of Human Rights” has three aims. First it will explore the background and contents of the European Convention of Human Rights; second it will provide an overview of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and third, it will track the way in which the ECHR contributes to the process of European integration.
At the end of this course, students will have a good understanding of the nature and contents of the ECHR and the procedure before the ECtHR. In addition they will be familiar with a number of leading cases decided by the Strasbourg Court, as well as general principles of its case-law.
Mode of instruction
The course will extend over six weeks, with two classes per week. The first two lectures will be of an introductory nature. Each of the remaining ten sessions will address individual rights protected by the ECHR (the right to life, the prohibition of torture and so on). The classes will be very interactive: the lecturer will discuss the assigned cases with students and will ask them to comment on cases which are handed out during class.
Other methods of instruction
Each student is asked to write, together with another student, a short case note concerning a judgment delivered during the last year. Students propose their case during the first two weeks of class (first come-first serve) and, after approval of their choice, work together on the note. They should hand in their note at the latest one week after the written exam. The paper will be graded separately and discussed with the authors.
Written exam (80% of the grade) and paper (20%)
For all practical and logistical information, see the reader and the Blackboard site.
Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.
More information on this course is offered in “Blackboard”: http://blackboard.leidenuniv.nl/.
Obligatory course materials
Course information guide:
The reader (below) will contain all practical information, which will also be posted on the Blackboard site.
- European Protection of Human Rights
Recommended course materials
P. van Dijk a.o., Theory and practice of the European Convention (3rd ed., Intersentia, 2006);
D.J. Harris, M. O’Boyle & C. Warbrick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights (2nd ed., Oxford, 2009).
J. Vande Lannotte & Y. Heack, Handboek EVRM (Intersentia, 2005)
For more references see the extensive reading list in the reader.
Co-ordinator: Prof. Rick Lawson (but check Blackboard site for up-dates)
Work address: KOG, Steenschuur 25
Contact information: Room B 1.43
Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 741
Institute: Public Law
Division: European Law
Room number secretariat: KOG, B 1.19
Opening hours: 9 – 17h
Telephone number secretariat: +31 (0)71 527 7760
Belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), kunnen meer informatie vinden over kosten, inschrijving, voorwaarden, etc. op de website van Juridisch PAO.