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School of Law

SOLM062 EU Human Rights Law (Not running 2022-23)

Module Description

In this semester, students study the legal mechanisms for protecting human rights within the legal order of the European Union. We will start off with basic misconceptions found in media regarding the EU and the ECHR and discuss the historical origins of EU fundamental rights. Subsequently, we will discuss what “Brexit” means for EU fundamental rights as well as the structure, nature, and legal effects of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the enforcement of these rights, both before the courts of the EU and the Member States. The last part of this module will focus on the most controversial and complex issues of EU fundamental rights, namely their relationship with international law and the EU’s planned accession to the ECHR. Problem questions will be solved by utilising CJEU case law and discussing academic articles in this field.

Week 1:
1. Introduction: Misconceptions and Misunderstandings – Distinguishing the EU from the ECHR/Council of Europe
2. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: History, Structure, Legal Nature

Week 2:
3. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: Scope of Application, Interpretation, and Level of Protection
4. EU Fundamental Rights and Brexit

Week 3:
5. Enforcement of EU Fundamental Rights in National Courts
6. Enforcement of EU Fundamental Rights in EU Courts

Week 4:
7. The Kadi Saga: EU Fundamental Rights and International Law
8. EU Accession to the ECHR I: Background, Case Law, and Reasons for Accession

Week 5:
9. EU Accession to the ECHR II: Selected Issues of the Accession Agreement
10. EU Accession to the ECHR III: Opinion 2/13 – The End of Accession?

Module Aims

The aims of this module are as follows:

  • To introduce students to the basic workings of European Union law and EU fundamental rights law as well as the intricate interrelationship of this system with both the ECHR system and domestic law;
  • to familiarise students with knowlegde of the major features of this particular system of fundamental rights protection;
  • to enable students to critically question the effectiveness of the EU system and to understand the institutional, jurisdictional, and political problems inherent in this system, potentially hindering the effective protection of fundamental rights;
  • to enable students to formulate answers to these problems in a critical, analytical, and reflective way.

Applicable Groupings

  • LLM in European Law
  • LLM in Human Rights Law

Mode of Assessment

3,000-4,000 word essay


15 Credits

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