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School of Law

International human rights clinic

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Full Year

The International Human Rights Clinic at SOAS was launched in the academic session 2007-2008; this current year is the fourth year of the Clinic (Clinic 4). The Clinic aims to encourage an engaged ‘critical consciousness’ that reflects on and works within the trans-national intersection of law, rights and social justice on briefs submitted by partners in the UK and internationally. For SOAS students, the clinic aims to provide a dynamic and critical environment in which to engage with advocacy strategies and the tensions of the theory and practice of human rights, and simultaneously to provide the opportunity to contribute to the work of the international human rights movement through practical work with cases, policy analysis, and research briefs.  The Clinic is offered within the LLM (specialist subject grouping: Human Rights, Conflict and Justice) and the MA programmes ‘Human Rights’ and ‘International and Comparative Legal Studies’. Students participating are normally expected to have a familiarity with international law / human rights law, or to be acquiring such familiarity through other Law School courses during the course of their degree. The Clinic is structured around weekly seminars and ongoing project work.

Because the project work that is a requirement of all participants in the Clinic is an assessed component of the course, it is not possible for students to take the Clinic as the dissertation component of the SOAS LLM. For the same reasons, the Clinic is not normally open to those auditing from other courses. Student numbers in the Clinic are currently limited to a maximum of 15. If the number of students wishing to take the course in 2011-2012 exceeds the available capacity, students will be asked to provide a written statement in support of their application to take this course as part of their postgraduate degree programme. Forms on which this statement can be made will be available in the first class of term (Thursday 6th October; statements submitted before the first class will not be considered) and must be submitted to the course convenor (by email or by hand to the Clinic Convenor’s office, room 229) by 11am the following day; the course convenor will notify you by email as to whether or not you are able to register for this course by 2pm on Friday 7th.   


Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course students should:

  • have an understanding of the rigours and challenges involved in international human rights practice and be equipped to research and write on this area
  • understand the dynamics of team work
  • be able to conduct research, individually and in teams, on case-specific themes and country situations, through a variety of media and sources, including web-based resources
  • understand, and be able to analyse, the application of international human rights instruments in and to specific situations
  • be able to reflect constructively on the dynamics involved in building and sustaining relationships with partners in a variety of countries and situations


Particular focuses are likely to develop from the nature of the project work engaged in by individual students. Students who work with the International Human Rights Clinic are critical to the development of the Clinic at SOAS, its approaches to project work and the strengthening of the Clinic’s contribution to the human rights efforts of its partners

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: 100% coursework - Essay 1 (5,000 words, 40%) and Essay 2 (7,500 words, 60%)