LLAW6242 Human rights in practice

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6242 / JDOC6242
Course name: Human Rights in Practice
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: Second
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits
Cap on student numbers: 24

1.2 Course description

The Human Rights in Practice course aims to meet the increasing demand for practical and theoretical knowledge about human rights throughout the Asian region by providing students an opportunity to learn how human rights lawyers, advocates and practitioners engage with human rights issues both domestically and internationally, through experiential learning. Students will explore and experience first-hand the relationship between international human rights law and domestic legal systems.

This is an EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING course. This course provides an opportunity for students to apply and critically engage with substantive human rights knowledge and theories learned in their other human rights courses. In this course, students will develop practical tools for human rights advocacy and practice.

Students who enrol in this course should have previous knowledge and an understanding of international human rights law, including having taken substantive lecture-based courses in international human rights law. Students are encouraged to have taken at least one of the following courses prior to joining this course: International and Regional Protection of Human Rights; National Protection of Human Rights; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Multiculturalism and the Law; Equality and Non-discrimination.

Students are in this course are expected to:

  • be proactive, self-reflective and self-motivated
  • attend and participate actively in ALL lectures and meetings held over the course of the semester
  • engage positively and regularly with your peers/cohort during lectures including by way of active participation in their presentations and in experience sharing during weekly trial updates
  • take ownership over their assigned trials including regular attendance at court, conducting independent research on legal issues relevant to trial, and;
  • deliver high-quality work products (assigned trial reports) and presentations in collaboration with their teammates

The Human Rights in Practice course aims to provide students an opportunity to learn how human rights lawyers, advocates and practitioners engage with human rights issues both domestically and internationally, through experiential learning. Students will explore and experience first-hand the relationship between international human rights law and the Hong Kong legal system.

The course seeks to empower and equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in the changing global legal environment by providing them with the opportunity to work on cutting-edge international legal issues while serving the community.

The focus of this programme for the duration of the semester will be an initiative focused on monitoring local trials to assess the fairness of trials according to international human rights standards. The programme we will be involved in specifically is called TrialWatch.

All students in this course will participate in an interactive trial monitoring interactive trial monitoring training based on international human rights standards developed in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Clooney Foundation for Justice. After taking the online training, there is a short assessment. If you pass, you will receive a certificate from TrialWatch that you’ve passed our training with the UNHCR and are authorized to monitor for TrialWatch.

The course aims to:

  1. Expose students to the challenges and skills of acting in the role of a lawyer/advocate/legal educator within the unstructured situations that international human rights lawyers confront in practice;
  2. Provides students with opportunities to implement knowledge gained through prior university coursework;
  3. Instruct students in the theory and practice of domestic and international human rights law, and comparative legal analysis;
  4. Give students an opportunity to practice their professional skills and ethics;
  5. Encourage critical analysis of the law, the relationship between international and domestic legal systems, and the clients’ place and the lawyer’s role within the international legal system; and
  6. Provide students an opportunity to evaluate the real-life application and effects of international human rights instruments, as well as contribute to the promotion, progressive enforcement and internalization of international human rights.
  7. Train and certify a body of independent Trial Monitors who can continue their contributions to the development of a body of work on the right to fair trial globally as they progress in their academic and professional careers.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor
Sharron Fast
sfast@hku.hk N/A By email

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1  Evaluate, present and discuss the real-life application and effects of international human rights law.

CLO 2  Conduct research, individually and in teams, on case-specific themes and country situations, through a variety of media and sources, including web-based resources.

CLO 3  Understand, and be able to analyse, the application of international human rights instruments in and to specific situations.

CLO 4  Explain to a client or layperson the sources of law in Hong Kong and/or other identified jurisdictions which provide for identified human rights and the available enforcement measures to ensure those rights.

CLO 5  Draft a substantive legal document relevant to the work of his/her placement organization; examples include a detailed intake report, case summary, witness statement, assessment of a claim, legal research memorandum, complaint letter/letter of concern, shadow report, advocacy campaign, training manual or briefing paper.

CLO 6  Reflect critically on and take action to advance the theory and practice of human rights in Hong Kong and/or other identified jurisdictions, the development of their professional skills and ethics, the nature of the lawyer-client relationship, and the value of pro bono service.

CLO 7  Demonstrate the communication skills of listening, questioning and interviewing, including empathetic and careful listening and skillful questioning both with and without the use of an interpreter.

CLO 8 Identify issues and conduct legal research, fact investigation, analysis and writing relevant to the practice of international human rights law (related to the legal and factual issues of a claim/complaint arising in the context of a specific human rights-based field placement).

CLO 9 Recognize challenges in human rights practice, creatively identify options, execute their own judgment and understand the impacts of their decisions.

CLO 10 Reflect constructively on the dynamics involved in building and sustaining relationships with partners in a variety of countries and situations

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO A On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the body of legal knowledge and the capacity to conduct research on, critically analyse and evaluate legal principles, at a level required to meet the standards and expectations of the legal profession and the community at large.

PLO B On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply their legal knowledge and research skills to practical situations or theoretical challenges, and utilise their comparative understanding of the law and its political, social and cultural contexts to provide original and creative insights to legal problems.

PLO C On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply the knowledge, lawyering skills and legal reasoning to real and novel situations in life, with a view to resolving issues, problems and disputes within the legal parameters.

PLO D On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to present effectively legal arguments in the professional context, as well as conveying and explaining the law effectively to lay clients and members of the larger community.

PLO E On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to appreciate the underlying moral values of the law and ethics in the profession and the legal system in the broad social, economic, political and cultural contexts: justice, the Rule of Law, and protection of rights and liberties which form the fabrics of a civilised society, and the importance of upholding these values by the legal community.

PLO F On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to develop a strong awareness of social issues and conditions, and utilise analytical abilities and rhetorical advocacy to provide leadership for the betterment of the human community.

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course

PLO A PLO B PLO C PLO D PLO E PLO F
CLO 1  ✓
CLO 2  ✓  ✓
CLO 3  ✓
CLO 4
CLO 5
CLO 6
CLO 7
CLO 8
CLO 9
CLO 10

3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Proactive engagement and participation in weekly lectures seminars, small group meetings, and court attendance TBC 30% 1, 3, 4, 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Case Study/Legal Briefing Assignment (research and writing) TBC 30% 1, 3, 4, 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Presentations
(1 online Group presentation, 1 Individual video submission)
TBC 40% 1, 3, 4, 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  *Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/grading-criteria/

 

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Lecture: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

This is an EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING course. Students in this course will be expected to engage with community partners, be proactive and deliver a practical work product/service to the community partner. The learning activities in this course are akin to working in a community law office and students are expected to provide a high-quality service.

Students are in this course are expected to:

have a strong understanding of the international human rights law framework and theories prior to enrolling in this course,

take ownership over clinical projects,

work in teams to deliver high-quality work products in collaboration with community partner organizations, and

be proactive, self-reflective, self-motivated and able to work independently

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/

By the publication of the course profile online, the Faculty deems the student as having been notified of the course requirements.