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Law of the European Convention on Human Rights Micro-credential


Subject Area Law
Credits 10
Start Date 09 September 2024
Duration 12 weeks
Time Fri 09:00 - 10:50 (Subject to change.)
Mode of Delivery Hybrid
Course Leader (opens in a new window)Assoc. Professor Marie Luce Paris
Fee €1500 - 20% UCD Alumni Discount.
Application Deadline

26 August 2024

Register your interest at (opens in a new window)microcredentials@ucd.ie

This micro-credential addresses skills development needs in the increasingly important subject of European human rights law. Learners will critically examine key aspects of the operation and substantive law of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In particular, this micro-credential focuses on the ECHR’s incorporation into domestic law, the individual complaint procedure as it is operated by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), methods of interpretation by the ECtHR,  and an in-depth analysis and critical evaluation of the ECtHR's jurisprudence across a representative selection of ECHR rights. 

This micro-credential fits within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations,  specifically SDG Number 16 on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

Key Features

This micro-credential is aimed at legal professionals (solicitors and barristers), researchers, activists, and campaigners involved in human rights issues in the European context. It is also particularly suited to those working in the civil service, where compliance with human rights  law under the ECHR is required, as well as human rights professionals working in international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). 

It will also appeal to those with a keen interest in the European human rights system who wish to develop skills to support careers as lawyers, policy analysts, government officials, or diplomats involved in human rights issues. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this micro-credential, you will be able to:

    • Describe and evaluate the individual complaint procedure provided for in the ECHR.
    • Engage with debates on the challenges facing the ECtHR.
    • Consider the effect of the ECHR in the national legal system and at the international level.
    • Critically analyse the methodology and jurisprudence of the ECtHR in relation to a range of substantive rights.
    • Distinguish, apply, and critique the case law of the ECtHR.

  • Introduction to the ECHR - Overview of the origins, history and content of the ECHR, review of the procedure by which cases are processed by the ECtHR
  • Aspects of the Right to Life (Article 2) - How has the concept of ‘life’ been interpreted by the ECtHR? Since there is a right to life, does that extend to allowing a person choice over when their life will end? What responsibility, if any, does a contracting state have to protect individuals from other private actors [positive obligations? How has the ECtHR approached the interpretation of Article 2(2), as regards the limited situations whereby the deprivation of life is recognised?]
  • Aspects of Freedom from Torture, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Article 3) - Meaning of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment; the absolute nature of Article 3 ECHR; positive obligations upon States to prevent Article 3 ECHR violations.
  • The Right to Liberty and Security of the Person (Article 5) & to a Fair Trial (Article 6) - The scope of the protection under Article 5 ECHR, in particular the meaning of ‘deprivation of liberty’ and ‘arbitrary detention’; the scope of Article 6 (1); the different guarantees in criminal and non-criminal cases, including the right of access to court; special guarantees in criminal trials, the right to be presumed innocent in particular.
  • Aspects of Freedom of Expression (Article 10) - Examining the scope of the protection under Article 10 ECHR in particular the different means of expression protected; and, through case studies, how the ECtHR has assessed the limitations on freedom of expression; examination of two particular areas: cases about hate speech, and cases about whistle-blowers.
  • Aspects of Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion (Article 9) - Examining the scope of the protection under Article 9 ECHR, in particular : Who is protected? What is protected? (i.e., definition of religion or belief); through case studies, exploring the issues caused by manifesting religion or belief (i.e. proper v. improper proselytism).
  • Implementation of the ECHR from a comparative perspective - Reviewing aspects of international law (i.e., monism and dualism); examining the reception of the ECHR in various constitutional legal orders: Ireland (ECHR Act 2003); UK (HRA 1998); France (ratification of the ECHR in 1974); other jurisdictions; exploring the wider debate about the relevance of the ECHR system and the recent developments as regards the reform of the ECtHR in particular.

This micro-credential addresses skills development needs in the increasingly important subject of European human rights law. By learning about the case law of the Strasbourg Court in a range of key, and often controversial areas (e.g., online hate speech and freedom of expression, abortion, and euthanasia and right to life), learners will advance their knowledge of key concepts in European human rights law, as well as further develop their skills in the application of legal reasoning to difficult human rights questions.

Learners are encouraged to engage with the teaching activities for this micro-credential on campus at UCD (face-to-face). However, lectures will be available online, to suit learners' circumstances and requirements.

This micro-credential is delivered through the UCD online learning platform (Brightspace). The key teaching and learning approaches used in this micro-credential include interactive seminars; critical writing, debates, and case-based learning.

A repository of resources will be available to support your learning, and as a UCD student you will have full access to the library. 

Guest speakers specialised in the ECHR system or in human rights generally are often invited to deliver seminars as part of this micro-credential.

This is a 10 ECTS micro-credential and involves approximately 200 hours of learner effort.

Applicants must hold a degree in law or another relevant discipline, including the social and natural sciences. An upper second-class honours Level 8 degree (GPA 3.08), or international equivalent is required.

Applications will also be accepted from those with significant, relevant, practical experience or those with a graduate qualification relevant to the micro-credential.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate proof of English proficiency as per UCD's minimum English language requirements.

All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Formal written task (2,000 words per question, 2 questions, within a two-week period) – 100%

Group/class feedback will be provided post-assessment.

This micro-credential is also a module on the UCD School of Law’s LLM European Law & Public Affairs programme.