MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
LLM International Law options

Year 1, Component 03

LW966-7-SP or options from list
Religion, Gender Equality and Postcoloniality

How do Islamic legal traditions impact on international human rights discourse? And on Muslim state practice? Study the debates surrounding Islam and universal human rights. Examine the diversity of perspectives surrounding human rights in Islamic thought and practice. Develop the tools for cross-cultural understanding and engagement.

Human Rights, Social Justice and Social Change

Until very recently, it was frequently claimed that human rights were the dominant moral instruments for regulating global politics and law. Indeed, many went so far as to claim that we were living in an age of human rights. Is this still true today? Human rights are increasingly challenged from a variety of perspectives. Indeed, an increasing number of people describe the global human rights project to be in a state of real crisis. With human rights increasingly challenged, it is vitally important that we are able to understand the basis and extent of this challenge, in order to overcome the challenge. This module provides an opportunity to do just that. We will situate the theory and the practice of human rights within the broader moral and political contexts within which contemporary human rights unfolds. We will also connect theory with practice in order to examine key spheres in which the challenge to human rights occurs.

Gender, Race, Identity and Human Rights

Address key challenges for human rights across the developed and developing worlds. So-called identity politicking has emerged in the past 40 years as a prominent and deeply controversial phenomenon within most societies. It is undeniably true that many human rights violations specifically target groups perceived and ascribed identities. We inhabit societies where intolerance of difference and diversity have become key challenges for the defence of human rights and the pursuit of social justice. The response to this has often involved targeted communities seeking protection from rights-based mechanisms. There exist many instruments within international human rights law that seek to protect and promote distinct communities of people. However, the rights-based approach to identity politicking raises many, difficult to answer, questions concerning the compatibility of rights-based approaches and identity-based politics.

Human Rights and the Arts

Gain an interdisciplinary introduction the relationship between human rights and the arts. The module consists of separate sessions which focus upon the specific contributions which a carefully selected range of artistic forms and genres have engaged with and contributed to the global defence of human rights. The module is team taught by and will draw upon the expertise of colleagues in the areas of contemporary art, cultural studies, dance, literature, mass media and photography.

Banking Law

You’ll cover the legal aspects of banking transactions, banking regulation and the bank-customer relationship. You’ll be introduced to the concept as banks as economic and social institutions and their regulation in a domestic and global context. You’ll analyse the bank-customer relationship including the important issues of contractual fairness, the banks duty of confidentiality, and the potential for transactional and advisory liability.

Employment Law and Practice

What is the nature of the legal relationship between employers and employees? Study the practical application of employment law to the settlement of workplace disputes while gaining practical skills in drafting and advocacy before an employment tribunal.

International Trade Finance Law

In this module you’ll develop detailed knowledge of the techniques and legal context of the financing of international trade. You’ll focus on international trade finance products and methods; namely documentary collections, documentary letters of credit, standby letters of credit and bonds/guarantees, international factoring, forfaiting, international leasing, and export credit agency financing. No previous knowledge is required.

International Commercial Dispute Resolution

The vast increase in international trade has led to a proportionate increase in the use of arbitration as a means of resolving international commercial disputes. You’ll examine the different aspects of international commercial and investment arbitration with a view to understanding best practices in the working of the arbitral tribunals.

Maritime Law and Wet Shipping

You’ll study the law of marine insurance in the wider context of international trade law, with emphasis on the impact of the London markets on the practice of insurance and reinsurance across the globe. You’ll focus on the key relationships and legal obligations that underpin the modern law and practice of marine insurance.

International Financial Law

You’ll gain an understanding of the range of financing options available to a large corporation and their individual contribution to the financial industry. You’ll also analyse the key legal issues and risks, and will advise a hypothetical lender/investor on how to address the issues and how to mitigate and avoid the risks.

Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Law

You’ll analyse how new information technologies influence the traditional legal approach to crime prevention and criminal prosecution. You’ll study the complexity of the challenges facing the legal profession. You’re encouraged to build on your knowledge of substantive criminal law to assess to what extent existing criminal law principles and tools can be used to solve new problems. As the challenges are not unique to the UK, where appropriate a comparative approach will be adopted with the US and Europe.

Data Protection Law in the Digital Age

In this module you’ll gain a detailed understanding of the law governing data protection, and in particular European Union law on this subject.

Conflict and the United Nations: the Law related to the Use of Force, Sanctions and Peacekeeping

How does public international law apply to peace and field operations? What about international human rights law? Or the international law of armed conflict? Understand the institutional law of the United Nations. Examine foundational legal aspects of peace operations, as well as key unresolved legal issues.

International Criminal Law 2: Advocacy and Litigation

This module equips students with a well-developed understanding of the procedural aspects of international criminal law and imparts practical legal and advocacy skills and techniques to them which they can use in international criminal proceedings or similar professional settings. The module provides an in-depth overview of how international criminal law proceedings are initiated as well as their trajectory from the earliest phases to the ultimate conclusion of a case (including the conduct of investigations, arrest warrants, pre-trial, trial, appeal proceedings, sentencing and reparations). It canvasses the different roles of the prosecution, defence, victims, states, and the judiciary in such proceedings and provides a detailed analysis of the different legal and policy issues that arise throughout the proceedings and how these are addressed before international criminal courts and tribunals. Significantly, students will participate in practical exercises such as witness examination and/or cross-examination, and orally presenting legal arguments. Through this experiential learning, they will practice putting their knowledge into effect and gain confidence implementing professional skills. The module is taught by specialists in procedural law, who have experience in the practice of law and advocacy before institutions and courts applying international criminal law.

Business and Human Rights

What are the human rights responsibilities of private companies? And what about public or private institutions financing projects aimed at world development? Evaluate principles regulating human rights and examine how they contrast with principles regulating multinational commercial interests. Consider real-life cases from both national and international courts.

Transitional Justice

Broadly speaking transitional justice refers to the belief that any State where mass atrocities have taken place should engage with a set of judicial and non-judicial processes in order to achieve a successful transition from conflict to peace or repression to democracy. You’ll receive an overview of the history, theory, legal background and dilemmas of transitional justice, followed by in-depth discussions of the four pillars of transitional justice – truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, and of their interrelatedness.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Context

This module builds on the foundational introduction to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) provided in module International Human Rights Law: Law and Practice. Other related modules that may of interest to students of ESCR are: Human Rights and Women, Human Rights Centre Clinic, Protection of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights and Development, Investment, Trade and Human Rights, Business and Human Rights and Human Rights, Social Justice and Social Change.

Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence never seems to be far from the headlines. Sarah O`Connor of the Financial Times was quoted in a recent House of Lords report as stating that `if you ever write an article that has robots or artificial intelligence in the headline, you are guaranteed that it will have twice as many people clicking on it`. The advent of big data and more advanced and cheaper computational power has meant that machine learning has become much more accessible and available to a wide range of actors. AI is no longer the preserve of science fiction but is already a reality with many forms of machine learning and robotics already being used today. Within the last few years, governments and major technology companies have started to release AI strategies and major investments are being made in innovation and in understanding how AI will benefit and present risks to society. AI is already offering many opportunities for the better protection of human rights while at the same time presenting serious risks. While many actors describe these risks narrowly (focusing on the right to privacy), the threats (as well as the opportunities) affect the entire human rights spectrum. For example, AI applications may be used to document human rights violations; implement the Sustainable Development Goals; respond more effectively to the refugee `crisis`; and manage the impacts of climate change. They potentially offer innovative ways to enhance access to education; enable persons with disabilities and older persons to live more autonomously; advance the right to the highest attainable standard of health; and provide ways to tackle human trafficking and forced labour. At the same time, the use of big data and AI can present significant risks to human rights, even in contexts where they are used with the intention to advance them. They can introduce new threats and aggravate and amplify existing challenges to human rights, for example by reducing accountability for rights violations due to opaque decision-making processes, or by widening inequality. This could be due to factors such as uneven distribution of benefits, discriminatory impacts and biased datasets. Big data and AI have wide ranging effects across society and individuals` lives, including collective impact, many of which are not yet fully understood. They can put the full spectrum of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – at risk. Many actors involved in the governance and regulation of AI as well as key international, regional and national human rights institutions and NGOs are starting to work on the human rights impact of AI and to develop responses, although this remains at an embryonic stage. This module is designed to enable you to learn about the different technologies that fall under the broad and popular heading of `AI` and to understand and analyse how their use in different contexts affects human rights. The module is offered by the ESRC Human Rights, Big Data and Technology project based at the University of Essex. We are a major ESRC investment examining the risks and opportunities for human rights posed by big data and technology and developing effective policy, governance and regulatory responses. We work internationally on these issues and will integrate our ongoing research and practical experience on these issues into the module. This will enable you to engage with technological and policy developments as they happen in a rapidly changing field. As many international organisations, governments, technology companies and NGOs are starting to grapple with the impact of AI on human rights and the way in which they work, this module will provide preparation for study and employment after the LLM and MA across a range of domains and institutions.

Critical Perspectives on Peace, Security and Justice

Gain an in-depth overview of the legal and political frameworks developed at the international level governing gender, peace and security. The module highlights the interface between feminist legal theory, international human rights law, international relations theory and additional legal frameworks. These consist of: displacement, peacekeeping, terrorism, weapons and disarmament, investigations and commissions of inquiry, prosecutions and reparations.

Commercial Conflict of Laws

This module examines the concepts, theories, rules, models and principles of Conflict of Laws as they relate to commercial relationships, transactions and disputes. Focusing on litigation, it considers relevant international conventions, regional instruments, model laws, legal guides, restatements of law, national law and other sources of rules and principles governing transborder commercial relationships, transactions and disputes. It then investigates how Conflict of Laws has developed to balance international or transnational commercial concerns with national approaches in determining appropriate jurisdiction and choice of law and in recognising and enforcing foreign judgments. The module critically examines theoretical debates and doctrines of Conflict of Laws in the light of existing transnational and national approaches and practical cases. It draws on materials and practices from different national jurisdictions and international or transnational institutions and reflects some degrees of comparative analysis.

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