JJUB55070U Human Rights in the European Union

Volume 2015/2016

The course will provide the students with a better understanding of the different aspects of human rights protection within the European Union. The course’s aim is to enable the students to engage in debate about the role of the European Court of Justice as a human rights court as well as give them knowledge about substantive human rights, such as the right to privacy, and their respective protection within the EU.

However, the course will decidedly not provide a linear narrative of the selected topics, but engage the students in a process of discovery and debate with the aim to equip them for solving complex legal problems and meet the legal challenges that face the EU legal human rights order.

Human rights have come to be an important part of EU law. Since the European Court of Justice first introduced fundamental rights protection as an integral part of the Community legal order, it has faced much criticism from both national and international lawyers as well as many other challenges. For example, the ECJ has had to find its place as a human rights court in a global society in which the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations treaty bodies to a wide extent protect essentially the same rights. The course will provide an insight into the scope and nature of the EU human rights protection as well as comparative studies of the ECJ and the case law from other human rights institutions on selected human rights issues, such as the right to privacy.

Learning Outcome

The learning outcomes for the course are fundamental to the understanding of the subject and therefore generally apply to BA students. All students will be expected to contribute positively to class-room discussions, regardless of degree level. 

Identify the basis, history and framework of the human rights protection of the European Court of Justice,
Identify the role and competencies of the ECJ
- Understand the structure of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and of the individual Articles, as well as of the function of the European Court of Justice,
Understand the relation between the ECJ and other relevant international human rights institutions (primarily the European Court of Human Rights and the UN treaty bodies),
Explain the ECJ’s principles of interpretation and their effect on fundamental and human rights in the EU
Discuss - orally or in writing - the quality of a judgment or a line in case law of the ECJ on the basis of existing case law and the general principles of interpretation,
- Identify the legal issues involved in real or hypothetical cases, and explain the relevance of ECJ jurisprudence to them,
Reflect upon possible development trends in the future,
Communicate and formulate her/his knowledge and arguments linguistically correct and in a way that is structured and coherent.


- folder of selected articles, cases, commentaries and reports
- 500 – 550 pages in total

- For Bachelor student’s more explanatory texts will be offered in the additional reading

A basic knowledge of the legal order of the European Union is required.
A basic knowledge of public international law is recommended.
Students must have a reasonable command of English.
The course method is to go beyond passive listening; interaction, group work and student presentations are an essential part of the class. Group discussions and presentations will be structured around introductory or explanatory lectures. Material provided in the classroom and as preparatory reading will consist of research papers, reports provided by NGOs and human rights institutions, and case law.
Provisions on form requirements can be found in the exam catalogue on the online Study Pages
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 235
  • Seminar
  • 40
  • Total
  • 275
Type of assessment
Written examination, 48 hours
Assigned individual written assignment, 2 days
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Eksamensdato: 9. - 11. december 2015


Eksamensdato: 26. - 28. januar 2016

Criteria for exam assesment

- the legal basis for the human rights protection in the EU
- the scope of the human rights protection in the EU
- the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights
- the European Court of Justice and the United Nations treaty bodies
- the European Charter of Human Rights
- current Human Rights Challenges in the EU
- selected substantive rights and their protection within the legal framework of the EU(e.g. right to privacy, freedom of speech, free movement and the right to family)