CLT615: Human Rights and Global Justice

School Cardiff Law School
Department Code LAWPL
Module Code CLT615
External Subject Code M130
Number of Credits 30
Level L7
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Professor Peter Sutch
Semester Spring Semester
Academic Year 2016/7

Outline Description of Module

This module examines discourses in the international legal order concerning human rights and global justice. The module draws on a range of diverse sources drawn from the disciplines of law and politics in order to highlight the obstacles in the search for a more ‘just’ international order but also seeks to illustrate some of the achievements to date.


On completion of the module a student should be able to

  1. demonstrate a critical understanding of the ways in which human rights concerns have impacted upon, and been deployed in, the development of international law and politics;

  2. Understand the political and economic considerations at play in the genesis of legal instruments in normative terms and also the impact of political and economic factors on enforcement questions;

  3. demonstrate a critical understanding of human rights as contested concepts;

  4. demonstrate an understanding of some of the traditions of thought within normative international relations theory as they relate to international human rights law;

  5. demonstrate a clear understanding of selected legal, political and ethical issues in the areas of human rights as politics; human rights and development; human rights and the notion of ‘the human’ in an age of multiple global crises, including, inter alia, the financial crisis; the food crisis; the climate crisis and related questions of international justice.

How the module will be delivered

A combination of one hour lectures (4-5) and 10 two hour seminars.

Skills that will be practised and developed

The ability to critically examine the impact of human rights norms on key issues in the international legal order, and to a more limited extent on political theory.  To explore key aspects of human rights, global poverty and patterns of socio-economic privilege and exclusion.

How the module will be assessed

Type of assessment: Presentations in seminars

Contribution: 10%


Type of assessment: Coursework

Contribution: 90%

Duration: 5,000 words

Approx. date of Assessment: January 2017


The potential for reassessment in this module

Students failing to achieve an overall pass mark of 50% will be permitted to retake the assessment during the Resit Examination period.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs)
Written Assessment 90 Essay N/A
Oral/Aural Assessment 10 Presentation N/A

Syllabus content

Seminars will normally cover the following topics:

  • Foundational skills for reading human rights scholarship;
  • Introduction to human rights: contested concepts;
  • The theoretical and institutional foundations of human rights;
  • Development of the sub-discipline of ‘international justice’ in International Relations theory;
  • Human Rights and Global Justice – competing or complementary ideas?;
  • The law and politics of rights in international development;
  • Global governance, human rights and the right to development;
  • Examining the ‘human’ of human rights;
  • Human rights in a posthuman age;
  • Overview and conclusion.

Essential Reading and Resource List



Background Reading and Resource List

The editions listed here are valid at the time of writing. You should check to ensure that you purchase the latest edition of a book, should you choose to do so.

BW Weston and A Grear (eds.), Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Action (Pennsylvania: Penn Press, 2016)

R Falk, Human Rights Horizons: The Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World (London: Routledge, 2000)

C Douzinas, The End of Human Rights (Oxford: Hart, 2000)

U Baxi, The Future of Human Rights (Oxford: OUP, 2008)

U Baxi, Human Rights in a Posthuman World (Oxford: OUP, 2009)

D. Buss and A Manji Eds., International Law: Modern Feminist Approaches (Oxford: Hart 2007)

I Shivji, The Concept of Human Rights in Africa, (Dakar: Codesria, 1989)

D Armstrong et al (eds.), International Law and International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

F Teson, A Philosophy of International Law (New Haven: Westview Press, 1998)

D Forsythe, Human Rights in International Relations, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

O De Schutter, International Human Rights Law 2nd edn., (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

D Moeckli et al, International Human Rights Law 2nd edn., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

E Egede and P Sutch, The Politics of International Law and International Justice (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013).

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