LLM Human Rights and Criminal Justice

Teaching and assessment (2018-19): Semester 1, 1 x 6,000 word essay

Module description:

This module explores the relationship between the aims and purpose of the criminal justice system, and the requirement to protect human rights. We will examine the rights of suspects, defendants, and convicted offenders, with a view to determining the extent to which rights can be, and should be, curtailed in the fight against crime. The module starts with a broad introduction to the issues, assessing how those working in the criminal justice system are bound by human rights norms, and assessing the various approaches that can be taken to balancing human rights considerations with the need to fight crime. We will then examine how the authorities investigate and detect crime, before considering the rights of an individual who has been arrested and detained for questioning. The right to a fair trial is then examined, followed by seminars on sentencing and punishment, and the rights of prisoners.

Indicative seminar topics:

  • Introduction: the protection of rights and the need to combat crime + Human Rights Methodology
  • The investigation and detection of crime - police powers of stop & search and arrest
  • Rights in the police station
  • The right to a fair trial I - The Right to an independent and impartial tribunal
  • The right to a fair trial II - Hearsay and illegally obtained evidence
  • Rights, sentencing and punishment
  • Rights of Prisoners I - right to life; Right to freedom from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment
  • Rights of Prisoners II - Prisoners and Qualified Rights (i.e. Family life; Expression; Voting).