LAW 2513 - Human Rights:International & National Perspectives

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

The aim of this course is to have students consider the legal, philosophical and sociological underpinnings of human rights; students will be encouraged to think critically about the views they hold and the values reflected in the Australian and international legal systems. The course will focus on the United Nations and its role in formulating, interpreting and monitoring human rights. A further component of the course will be the protection of human rights in Australia.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 2513
    Course Human Rights:International & National Perspectives
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1501
    Incompatible LAW 2085
    Restrictions Available to LLB students only
    Course Description The aim of this course is to have students consider the legal, philosophical and sociological underpinnings of human rights; students will be encouraged to think critically about the views they hold and the values reflected in the Australian and international legal systems. The course will focus on the United Nations and its role in formulating, interpreting and monitoring human rights. A further component of the course will be the protection of human rights in Australia.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Laura Grenfell

    Telephone: (08) 831 35777
    Office: Room 3.27, Ligertwood Building.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    (1) Compare and assess the various theories proposed as the basis for the protection of human rights

    (2) Analyse primary sources ie. treaties and cases, with an understanding of the system of public international law and domestic public law

    (3) Analyse secondary materials with a critical understanding of the principles of human rights law;

    (4) Assess the structure, major institutions and jurisprudence of the international human rights system;

    (5) Communicate clearly and concisely about principles of human rights law in both written and oral forms ;

    (6)  Identify social and cultural diversity and the operation of Australian human rights law and public international law in that context.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course Readings for Human Rights Law 2018 (Available week by week on Canvas)
    Recommended Resources

    Philip Alston and Ryan Goodman, International Human Rights (OUP 2013).

    Note that this is a large book and very expensive. It can be purchased at Unibooks and all major bookstores. The Law Library has multiple copies available for loan and on reserve.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught via a series two-hour interactive lectures, (often featuring guest lecturers talking about the practice of human rights law) and one hour seminars where students will be working in small groups. In both the lectures and seminars, students will  be required to discuss and debate their analysis of the relevant set materials.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is designed to guide and assist you in engaging appropriately with the course.
    Contact time: Attend 2 hour lectures plus 1 hour seminar each week. This amounts to 36 hours of formal class time across the semester.
    Preparation time: In addition to attending formal classes it is anticipated that you will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assignments.The University expects full time students (those undertaking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies.
    Learning Activities Summary


    Class topic


    Week 1


    Introduction to the course–

    Explanation of course assessment and expectations.


    Week 2




    Introduction to HR law


    Week 3


    The sources and processes of human rights law



    Week 4



    The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Focus on the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and the Human Rights Committee.


    Week 5


    The International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights


    Week 6


    Immigration Detention and Australia’s International Human Rights Obligations


    Week 7


    Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights in Australia. This class focuses on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and on how Australian institutions engage with indigenous rights.


    Week 8



    Human Rights in Australia – topical issues.

    The class will focus on how parliament protects human rights.


    Week 9



    Disabled Persons and Human Rights


    Week 10


    International criminal law and human rights.



    Week 11


    Open topic - TBC


    Week 12








  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Redeemable Learning Outcome
    participation Individual assessment


    10% No 1-6

    News Reflection Individual assessment Monday 10th September at 2pm 20% No 5, 6
    Online Quiz Individual assessment Wednesday 15th August 5% No 2
    Small group presentation task Individual assessment during the semester 5% No
    Research Essay (4000 words)/Presentation Option (3000 words + presentation + reflection) Individual assessment Monday 29th October at 2pm (presentation option due on 5th November at 2pm) 60% No 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Assessment Detail

    1. The Participation component (10%) involves weekly engagement with
    classroom lectures and seminars showing reading, preparation and reflection.
    This will be gauged by Dr Laura Grenfell who will either lead the class (or
    attend) every week. Students will take responsibility for signing the ‘sign-in
    sheet’ and giving their name when they make contributions in class.

    2. The small group presentation (5%) component involves a formal participation
    exercise in an assigned week. Instructions will be given one week prior.
    Students will undertake the formal participation exercise in pairs and hence
    will have the responsibility of identifying and contacting their partner for
    this exercise.

    3. The Preliminary Quiz (5%) will evaluate students' understanding of the basic principles and sources of international law and how it relates to human rights. Students will be given readings which will help them recall first year, foundational concepts such as the differences between treaty law and custom. Students will be assessed via 10 randomised multiple-choice quiz questions, each worth 0.5%.

    4. Legal reflections on 2018 current news (20%)
    This assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate their ability to read and analyse current news through a human rights law framework. Students must submit 2 x 500 word reflections on how human rights law relates to 2
    chosen current news items (ie from 2018).  Students must embed a copy of
    their chosen newspaper items in their electronic submission (submissions
    without the newspaper items will not be marked). 

    The reflection can be written through dot points but it must include legal analysis
    of the current news item by considering the relevant primary sources of human
    rights law (eg treaties and custom; Constitution, legislation and
    cases).  No footnoting or referencing is required.

    5. Final Assessment (60%)-  two options
    (i) Research Essay Option

    A 4,000 word essay from a set list of topics provided at the beginning of the course.
    Essays must: Be submitted electronically via Turnitin by Monday 29 October 2018 at 2pm. This date is not negotiable.

    Students must retain a copy of the essay submitted. The essay must:
    -Conform to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation
    -Conform to the Word Limit PolicyWords in excess of the word limit will not be read. Note that substantive footnotes will be included in the word count.
    -Conform to the Late Submission PolicyEssays handed in after the due date will not be read or graded. Extensions are only available on medical or compassionate grounds (see below).
    -Not have been previously submitted for any other course without prior approval from the course co-ordinator.
    -Be adequately referenced. (A reduction of 5 percent will apply for inadequate referencing.)
    -Be footnoted (substantive footnotes will be included in the word count)Be double-spaced and paginated.
    -Have a bibliography appropriate for the topic.
    These requirements are non-negotiable.

    (ii) Presentation Option
    This option is for those students who would like to pick their own topic and present it to the class. Apart from making a presentation to the class, students must hand up a 3000 word paper on Monday the 3rd November at 2pm. Out of the 60%, this paper will be worth 40%. Please note that students writing this paper must follow all the directions re essays as outlined above.

    The Presentation
    The presentation option is designed to allow students to think more creatively about human rights law.
    Students are encouraged to think of various mediums for the presentation of their topic – video, roleplay, powerpoint presentation. Presentations can be done individually or in groups. Each individual presentation will take a maximum of 20 minutes. This means that if there is a group of 3 students for example, the group will be allocated an hour for its presentation. This time must be managed carefully: ¼ of the time must be put aside for class interaction.
    One week prior to the presentation the presenter(s) must hand up a one-page outline to the course co-ordinator in order to inform her of the proposed set-up.
    Students will receive 20% out of the 60% mark for this presentation: 10% for a 1-2 page written reflection on the presentation, the skills involved and whether the criteria stated below were met. This should be submitted with the written paper upon submission. 10% of the mark will be graded on the visual material used in the presentation (eg the powerpoint presentation, the overheads, the handouts etc.). This material should be submitted to the marker at the end of the presentation.

    Presentation Assessment Criteria:
    The topic should be of current interest;
    The presenter must adhere to the time restrictions and allocate 5 minutes to a form of class interaction;
    The presenter must make eye contact with the class;
    The presenter must use visual aids to assist the discussion of the topic eg video, powerpoint, handouts etc;
    The presenter must speak at a steady pace so that the presentation is easy to follow;
    The presenter must present the issues with clarity.
    The reflection piece must be a critical self-assessment as to whether these above criteria were met.


    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    All assignments in this course are to be submitted in hard copy and electronically through Turnitin. All hardcopy submissions must be accompanied by the Assignment Cover Sheet that sets out the word length, and contains a signed declaration that the assignment consists of the student’s own work. A student’s results will be withheld until such time as the student has signed the Assignment Cover Sheet. Markers can refuse to accept assignments which do not have a signed acknowledgement of the University’s policy on plagiarism.

    Details for electronic submission through Turnitin will be provided with the assignment instructions.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made electronically according to law school policy. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.


    1. Late Submission: Submission penalties of 5% (of the total mark of the assignment) each day (or part thereof) will be deducted for late submission (including weekends and public holidays), (ie an essay graded 63% will have 5 % deducted if it is one day late, for a final mark of 58%, 10% if it is two days, etc).
    2. Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks available per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc).  Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information.  Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.

    Turnaround time: The interim assignment for this course will be returned to students within 2 weeks of the submission date. Group feedback, together with written, individual feedback will be provided, from which students can learn from in the final assignment. The final assignment will be returned to students within 4 weeks of the submission date with written individual feedback. Students will be notified by email when assignments are ready for collection from the Law School Front Office.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.