2023-2024 / DROI1284-1

Human rights


36h Th

Number of credits

 Master in law (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (60 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology)5 crédits 


Frédéric Bouhon

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course continues the study of fundamental rights that the students started in other legal disciplines and aims to present a general overview of the questions raised by the fundamental rights in Belgian and European legal practice. Special attention is paid to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

The course consists of two types of sessions. Each week, a two-hours-fifteen-minutes session, in which the ex-cathedra approach predominates, provides the basic notions on a specific theme. Another one-hour-fifteen-minutes session aims to address the subject, leaving plenty of room for discussion, interaction and practice. For example, it will involve dealing with current issues, discussing a real or fictitious case in detail, inviting students to defend the position of a litigant, examining a particular issue in greater depth to better identify its practical dimensions, testing the knowledge acquired using various devices, etc.

The course contains two main parts. The first is devoted to the presentation of relevant legal sources (constitutional provisions, European Convention on Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, etc.), mechanisms for the protection of fundamental rights and a number of general concepts specific to the subject. In the second part of the course, emphasis will be placed on a selection of fundamental rights (right to life, freedom of expression, protection of privacy, freedom of religion, freedom of association, etc). For each of them, the main lessons that emerge from the case law of the European Court of Human Rights will be presented.

If possible, a visit to the European Court of Human Rights will be organised.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The course aims at developing the understanding of the principal issues connected to fundamental rights and at familiarising students with the reasoning of the courts.

At the end of the semester, students should be able:

- to answer general theoretical questions about human rights,

- to show that they have understood the main stakes of the field,

- to analyse summarily judgments of courts like the European Court of Human Rights,

- to produce, on the basis of given facts, an appropriate reasoning in order to suggest a suitable legal solution to the matter.


Prerequisite knowledge and skills

A basic knowledge of public law (in particular, constitutional law) and of the fundamental mechanisms of international law (in particular, treaty law) is recommended.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

This course combines ex cathedra teaching (focused on theory) with periods of discussion and interaction (more focused on practice).

The students have to read a number of court decisions and are invited to discuss these decisions during the course sessions. Student participation is strongly encouraged in this respect and is taken into consideration in the evaluation.

Each year, the course is enriched by the intervention of one or more guest speakers, who may be judges or former judges of the European Court of Human Rights, members of the Constitutional Court, lawyers specialising in human rights, the Agent of the Belgian Government before the European Court of Human Rights, etc.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face combined with e-campus.

Recommended or required readings

Required readings are extracts of judgments. They are available in a casebook made available to students electronically. 

Others readings (beyond the required ones) are suggested on the e-campus system.

An overall outline for the course will also be given to the students.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( open-ended questions )

Other : Active participation is taken into account for 15% of the score

Additional information:

The evaluation is based on two elements.

- Firstly, participation in the course, especially in the activities organised during the one-hour sessions (see above) will be taken into account and valued for 15% of the final mark. The willingness to take part in discussions and contribute to interactivity, on the one hand, and the quality of the interventions, on the other hand, will be taken into account.

- Secondly, students take a written exam that includes several questions during the January session. Among the questions that are submitted to the students, at least one consists in solving a practical case (casus) by using theoretical knowledge and drawing inspiration from the case law studied. During the examination, students can use a code containing the relevant primary sources (Constitution, international treaties, laws, etc.) as well as the collection of case law referred to in the section "Recommended or required readings". These texts may be underlined or highlighted, but may under no circumstances be annotated. This test is valued for the rest of the final score, i.e. 85% of the final score.

In case of a second session, the student keeps in principle the mark acquired beforehand for participation in the course. However, he or she may decide not to keep it, by sending an express request by e-mail to this effect. In this case, the written exam of the second session is valued at 100% of the mark of the student concerned.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The lectures will be held in the second term.


Students may contact the professor directly (f.bouhon@uliege.be) or the assistant associated to this lecture, Mathilde Franssen (Mathilde.Franssen@uliege.be).

Association of one or more MOOCs