Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Counter Terrorism and Human Rights

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS30711
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The Counter-terrorism and human rights course unit examines the development of counter-terrorism legislation, policy and practice in the United Kingdom and internationally. Principles associated with criminal justice standards (including police powers and suspects' safeguards), human rights and constitutional separation of powers, UK's counter-terrorism strategy, use of intelligence and special powers will be examined in detail.

Course content:

Counter-terrorism models

Counter-terrorism case studies

UK counter-terrorism strategy

Special powers to combat terrorism

Interface between human rights and counter-terrorism


The unit aims to:

Develop knowledge and understanding of counter-terrorism and human rights from interdisciplinary perspectives and the ability to work independently and collaboratively to develop and present oral and written arguments.

Learning outcomes


Teaching and learning methods

20 hours of lectures; 10 hours of seminars; 10 drop in/feedback hours. Weekly lectures provide a background to the subject and the Course Unit Director will be available in weekly drop in/feedback hours to answer students' queries. Weekly seminars are organised into a series of discussions in which sub groups develop and present arguments against each other. There is not a set textbook for this course and the vast majority of the reading is electronically available in academic journals, eBooks, official documents, which can be accessed through seminar reading lists.

Students are encouraged to submit a 1500 word non-assessed essay in mid semester, before Reading Week, and feedback will be given in seminars.

Knowledge and understanding

Understand models of counter-terrorism and the principles underpinning them;

comprehend how counter-terrorism legislation, policy and practice have developed in the UK and internationally, particularly since the events of 11 September 2001; recognise the contribution research and academic discourse have made to the knowledge and understanding of counter-terrorism and human rights.

Intellectual skills

critically analyse counter-terrorism dilemmas; e.g. the conflict between security and liberty; evaluate whether or not counter-terrorism policies and practices are fair and effective; critically engage with the research and ideas of scholars in the field of counter-terrorism and human rights.

Assessment methods

100% examination, seen examination (2 hours)

Students will be provided with a preliminary examination paper at the end of teaching containing five questions. When candidates sit their examination two of these questions will have been removed from the Examination Paper and they will be required to answer two of the remaining three questions.


Feedback methods

Optional non-assessed essay (1500 words).

Formative feedback at the end of each seminar

Formative feedback on mock exam question

Recommended reading

Recommended reading


Townshend, Charles (2002), Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP.

Wilkinson, P. (2011), Terrorism versus Democracy: The Liberal State Response, 3rd Edition. Routledge

There is not a core text for this module. Links to electronic journal articles and official reports will be included on seminar reading lists.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Seminars 10

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Graham Smith Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Closed Book Examination


Open to all final year students in the School of Social Sciences.

This course is available to incoming study abroad students.


See Law School timetable

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