Introduction to European Human Rights - Bachelor

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course aims to provide the students with knowledge and understanding of the Council of Europe system for human rights protection, both the enforcement machinery and some of the substantive rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The course starts out with an exploration of the history and background of the Council of Europe system for human rights protection, and of the Rule of Law concept. Main emphasis is put on the European Court of Human Rights: its organization, how it works, the relationship between the Court and national courts, and the challenges faced by the Court.

The course moves on to a more detailed analysis of the Court's legal method (the principles of interpretation of the Convention), and the different ways of limiting human rights are introduced.

Upon this backdrop, some of the substantive rights of the Convention are given considerable attention: the prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3); the right to personal liberty and security (Article 5); the right to private and family life (Article 8); and the freedom of expression (Article 10). The prohibition in Article 3 is absolute, while the rights protected by Articles 5, 8, and 10 are relative, and must be balanced against societal interests and/or conflicting human rights.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will have achieved the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills, and general competence:


The student

  • has acquired general knowledge and understanding of the Council of Europe system for human rights protection.
  • is familiar with the principles for interpretation of the Convention, and with the various ways of limiting the human rights protected by the Convention.
  • possesses detailed knowledge of the protection laid down in Article 3 (prohibition of torture), Article 5 (the right to personal liberty and security), Article 8 (the right to private and family life), and Article 10 (freedom of expression).


The student

  • can apply the legal standards laid down in Articles 3, 5, 8, and 10 on new sets of facts, and make well-founded assessments on whether the substantive rights in question have been violated.
  • can interpret and apply new judgments handed down by the Court under Articles 3, 5, 8, and 10.
  • can identify and reflect on the development of the legal standards laid down in Articles 3, 5, 8, and 10.
  • can find and evaluate information on the other substantive human rights protected by the Convention.

General Competence

The student

  • has insight into contemporary discussions in the field of human rights.
  • can exchange opinions and experiences with others with background in this field.
  • can update and expand his general knowledge on the international protection of human rights.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Faculty of Law, University of Bergen
Required Previous Knowledge
Two years of law studies
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Good level of English language
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

Combined with JUS276-2-B European Human Rights, JUS135 Rettsstat og menneskerettar or JUS221 Rettsstaten, this course will generate no new credits.

Combines successfully with the following courses:

JUS2308 Constitutions, Courts and Politics

JUS2322/JUS3522 Health and Human Rights

JUS2313/JUS3513 Human Rights and Welfare Policies

JUS2306 Fair Trials in Europe

Access to the Course

The course is available for the following students:

  • Exchange students at the Faculty of Law

The pre-requirements may still limit certain students' access to the course

Teaching and learning methods
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Compulsory attendance at lectures/seminars
Forms of Assessment

Four-hour digital school exam.

Information about digital examination:

Exam question: English

Answer: English

Grading Scale
A - E for passed, F for failed.
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The reading list will be ready 1 December for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
According to the administrative arrangements for course evaluation at the Faculty of Law
Examination Support Material

See section 3-9 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

In addition: European Convention on Human Rights, copy supplied by the Faculty of Law (only).

Special regulations about dictionaries at school exam

  • According to the Regulations for Studies, one dictionary is permitted support material during the examination. Bilingual dictionaries containing for example both Norwegian-English and English-Norwegian are considered as one dictionary.
  • Bilingual dictionaries to/from the same two languages - for example Norwegian-English/English-Norwegian - in two different volumes are also considered as one dictionary (irrespective of publisher or edition).
  • Dictionaries as described above cannot be combined with any other types of dictionaries.
  • Any kind of combination which makes up more than two physical volumes is forbidden.
  • In case a student has a special need for any other combination than the above mentioned, such combination has to be clarified with/approved by the course coordinator minimum two weeks before the exam. Students who have not been granted permission to have a special combination minimum two weeks before the exam will be subject to the usual regulations (Section 3-9) about examination support materials.
Programme Committee
The Academic Affairs Committee (Studieutvalget) at the Faculty of Law is responsible for ensuring the material content, structure and quality of the course.¿
Course Coordinator
Professor Bjørnar Borvik
Course Administrator
The Faculty of Law¿s section for students and academic affairs (Studieseksjonen) is responsible for administering the programme.