European Convention on Human Rights
Module code: LW7240
This module introduces students to the functioning of the most effective international system for the protection of human rights yet devised, and examines some of the European Court of Human Rights’ leading jurisprudence. An introductory seminar will examine what the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is, and how its Court operates. The seminars then examine some of the most exciting and dynamic case law of the Court. They address: Article 2 of the ECHR, to include some of the most topical case law on the ‘right to life’ (for example, how this right regulates the way that the police can lawfully use lethal force against individuals; relevant case law on capital punishment, and the relevance of the right to life to the unborn child); - Article 3 of the ECHR (for example, what amounts to ‘torture’, to ‘inhuman’ and to ‘degrading treatment or punishment’, and the barriers this Article presents to deportation of suspected terrorists); - Articles 5 and 15 (the ‘right to liberty’: including when the State can lawfully arrest and detain individuals; what safeguards apply, and in what circumstances the State may lawfully exercise emergency powers so as to permit internment [detention without trial]); - Article 8 (the ‘right to respect for private life’: to include, for example, the extent to which the State may lawfully regulate consensual homosexual relations or operate secret surveillance, in accordance with the values of European democratic society).
The module will conclude by examining one of the most controversial affairs to do with European human rights supervision in recent years: how the issue of ‘prisoner voting’ has been addressed by the European Court of Human Rights, how the United Kingdom reacted to this, and how this case is being resolved.