What are Human Rights? Are human rights those rights we have just by virtue of being a human person? How do we know which rights are included or excluded from the status of human rights, and what is the significance of this? Can it be said that human rights are universal? Or are they inevitably different from one part of the globe to another? What makes one "right" more worthy of protection than another?
How are human rights defined, limited, protected, enforced? Human rights law is concerned with the law in the United Kingdom, and in particular the Human Rights Act 1998, but if one were to restrict oneself to learning the Act and the cases which come under it, one would see only part of the picture. A human rights lawyer must engage international law, such as the United Nations Covenants and Treaties relating to human rights, and regional human rights law, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, the African Charter and the American Convention. But even that is not enough - to have a more thorough understanding of human rights, the human rights lawyer cannot ignore some comparative perspectives; certain decisions in various countries influence the development of human rights law internationally.
The human rights course attempts to look at various "rights", such as the right to life, privacy, freedom of expression; and others, such as the right to development and self-determination. The nature of human rights is continually questioned, while the substantive law is scrutinised.