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Human rights are becoming increasingly important to the practice of law at the domestic and international level, and within government, the private and community sector. This subject is designed to equip students with the practical skills required for effective engagement with human rights in each of these contexts. The subject will be of interest to students whose work already intersects with human rights directly or to students who wish to explore ways to further inject human rights into their work. It is designed to be of relevance to students whether they are working within Australia, other countries or at the international level. The subject lecturer draws heavily on his extensive contacts to integrate the insights and experiences of legal professionals into the teaching of the subject.
The first four days of the subject examine:
- The strategic considerations and techniques required for effective use of human rights in litigation, advocacy and service delivery
- The technical skills required to determine the meaning of civil and political rights, such as the right to life and the prohibition against torture, and economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to health
- The status and strategic opportunities for using international human rights standards in domestic legal systems
- The effectiveness of domestic systems for the protection of human rights, principally Bills of Rights (using the Victorian Charter of Human Rights as a case study of the dialogue model, unless it is repealed)
- The international mechanisms available for individual allegations of human rights violations
- The use of human rights standards to shape and influence law reform and policy development.
The final day of the subject involves the application of the skills developed during the subject to several practical and contemporary case studies.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject should:
- Develop an understanding of the practical skills necessary to make use of human rights standards in two contexts: litigation (both domestic and international) and advocacy (being the capacity to invoke human rights at the domestic level to promote or respond to the development of legislation and the design and implementation of public policy)
- Be aware of the strategic and technical limitations in using human rights standards in litigation and advocacy initiatives at the domestic level Possess the legal research skills necessary to identify the meaning and content of human rights standards as developed by international, regional and domestic courts, tribunals and other human rights bodies
- Be able to offer critical comment on the status of international human rights standards in domestic law and understand the circumstances when recourse can be made to human rights standards before domestic courts
- Be able to identify and critically assess the domestic mechanisms for the protection of human rights, principally Bills of Rights by using the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities as a case study to assess the capacity of a dialogistic model to provide effective protection of human rights
- Have the capacity to identify when a human rights issue arises on the facts of a particular case and possess the skills necessary to identify the strategies available for the protection of that right at both the domestic and international level.
Last updated: 3 November 2022