Transitio nal Justice Institute

Transitional Justice Institute
LLM Human Rights Law and
Transitional Justice
This programme has been developed
to enable students to:
• Gain an in-depth knowledge of the theoretical and practical
application of human rights law and the cross-cutting norms and
institutional regulation applicable to transitional societies.
• Understand the particular human rights issues in conflicted and
transitional societies.
• Gain knowledge and skills in carrying out research projects from
design to write-up.
• Enhance skills in critically appraising published and commissioned
• Develop skills highly relevant to legal practice, and to policy,
research and advocacy roles in the voluntary, public and private
sectors in the UK, Ireland and beyond. Successful completion
may also open up a range of further study and research options.
Unique Selling Points
The Transitional Justice Institute in Northern Ireland is uniquely placed
to deliver an effective and stimulating programme of study in this area.
Key highlights include:
• Opportunity to undertake an LLM programme with a specific focus
on transitional justice – the only LLM programme of its type in
the UK - at either Jordanstown in suburban Belfast or Magee in
Londonderry/Derry - both of which offer a unique opportunity to
study transitional justice in a post-conflict society
• The programme is delivered by active researchers in the TJI, many
of whom have received international recognition for their work;
• Gain unique insights into the legal protection of rights in transitional
contexts, while studying in a society currently in a process of
• Take advantage of the opportunities to specialise in identified areas
e.g. human rights, transitional justice, peace and conflict research in
divided societies.
• Internship opportunities with a range of organizations including the
Disability Action (Centre on Human Rights), Law Centre (NI) and
Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM), all based in
• LLM Best Dissertation Prize, awarded by the Northern Ireland
Human Rights Commission.
• Extensive events programme (TJI Seminar Series, International
Conferences) and distinguished Visiting Scholars programme.
• Excellent library and computer facilities on both campuses. • Fully equipped LLM teaching rooms with integrated audio visual and
video conferencing
The LLM promotes student employability and produces graduates
capable of critical thinking and professional practice. As well as offering
a range of prestigious internships, the LLM prioritises the development
of relevant professional and vocational skills, in particular, independent
research and writing, advocacy, presentations, teamwork and critical
Graduate Destinations
Graduates have used the LLM to secure positions in an impressive
range of local and international settings. Within Northern Ireland, our
graduates have advanced their careers in the Northern Ireland Human
Rights Commission, public authorities, the court service and civil service
graduate schemes. International organisations employ our graduates,
such as the United Nations Development Programme, UN Women, the
International Organisation for Migration, Open Society Initiative and the
European Parliament. Several graduates have moved into positions in
legal practice, consultancy and PhD research.
Programme and Module Content
LLM students must complete the following 3 compulsory modules:
• Foundations of International Human Rights Law (30 credit
points): The module will enable the student to master the complex
and specialised area of international human rights law. Students will
be encouraged to develop an in-depth critical understanding of both
the content of international human rights standards and the various
means by which they are enforced. It will act as a foundational
basis which will enable learners to study issues in greater detail in
subsequent modules. These have been developed in response to
the growth of new areas of interest in international human rights law.
• Foundations of Transitional Justice (30 credit points): This module
aims to provide students with an in-depth analysis of the emerging
field of ‘transitional justice’. Students will relate the dilemmas of
societies in transition from violent conflict and/or authoritarian
regimes to the imperatives of international human rights law and
international humanitarian law. There will also be an opportunity
to apply that legal and structural knowledge to contemporary
situations of armed conflict and transition.
• Dissertation Research Methods (15 credit points): This module
will provide students with training in law and social science research
methods. It will assist in the selection, planning, research and writing
of the dissertation, and will also enhance the research and writing
skills of students for other assessments and for employment.
• Dissertation (60 credit points): The completion of a 15,000 word
dissertation provides students with an opportunity to further pursue
their own research interests, and to produce an original and
theoretically-informed piece of work of publishable standard which
relates to issues studied in at least one of the taught modules.
PLUS 3 optional half-modules (15 credit points each) from a list which
may include:
• Gender and Transition: This module provides an introduction to
issues of gender in transitional justice. The module focuses on
the evolving legal treatment of harms against women in situations
of conflict under international law. In addition, non-prosecutorial
responses to such harms, such as truth commissions and
reparations programmes, are considered.
• Policing and Human Rights: This module traces, at local and
national levels and internationally, the actual and potential impact
of human rights norms on policing policy and practice in respect
of arrest and questioning, public order, the control of parades and
assembly, the use of lethal and less lethal force, community and
minority policing and general issues of accountability and reform.
• Memory, Transition and Conflict: This module seeks to
encourage socio-legal and social science analyses surrounding
the out-workings of political violence in transitional societies
with the emphasis on divided societies. Key issues will include
the legitimisation of political violence, the construction of victim
hierarchies, theories of social memory, collective memory and
conflict resolution and political transformation, and the interplay
between memory, identity and conflict in transitional societies.
The module will also advance knowledge in a developing pillar of
transitional justice policy making and academic analysis, the use of
commemoration and memorialisation.
• International Criminal Justice: This module will impart a detailed
knowledge of the history, sources and substance of international
criminal law, while also giving students the opportunity to critically
reflect upon international criminal prosecutions as a transitional
justice mechanism. This module will introduce students to
international criminal justice institutions ranging from the postSecond World War military tribunals and the United Nations ad
hoc tribunals to the International Criminal Court. Students will also
examine challenges in the operationalization of international criminal
justice such as the dilemma of state cooperation.
• Economic, Social & Cultural Rights: This module will enable
students to subject Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESC
rights) to a deeper analysis. It will introduce the UN and regional
human rights mechanisms which are relevant to ESC rights.
Substantive case studies on the right to food, the right to housing,
the right to health and other ESC rights will be covered. Students
will be encouraged to critically analyse key themes which are
relevant to ESC rights, including the history; content and scope;
justiciability; women‘s ESC rights; non-state actors‘ obligations;
state reservations and progressive realisation. The module will also
examine the important but under-explored issue of the protection of
ESC rights in transitional contexts.
• Equality Law: This module introduces the students to core principles
of equality law, with a focus upon the law of Northern Ireland but
in the context of British, European, comparative constitutional and
international law. It examines a spectrum of non-discrimination and
equality law concepts and their enforcement over the key grounds
and considers the future development of equality law.
• The Law of Armed Conflict/International Humanitarian Law:
This module examines the role of law in armed conflict in mitigating
the effects of the use of armed force, for example in regulating
the conduct of hostilities and in the protection of civilians. This
module begins by considering the international law rules which
govern whether and when States are entitled to use armed force.
In this part of the course, we will examine the prohibition of the
use of force contained in the UN Charter as well as the exceptions
to that prohibition. In particular, we will examine the arguments on
the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to
protect doctrine. The main part of the course examines the law
that applies during an armed conflict. We begin by considering
the distinction between the law applicable to international armed
conflicts and that applicable to non-international armed conflicts. In
this part of the module, we will gain an overview of the “Geneva law”
relating to the humanitarian protection of victims of armed conflict
and the “Hague law” relating to the means and methods of warfare.
In particular, we will examine the distinction between combatants
and civilians and the obligation to protect civilians.
• Minority Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Law:
This module will present, analyse and critically evaluate the legal
regime regarding the protection of minorities and indigenous
peoples. It will also analyse the regional and national evolution of
such regime and focus on specific issues affecting minorities such
as ethnic conflicts, effective political participation, affirmative action
policies, restitution, and land rights. This module also explores the
foundations and the practical implementation of specific regimes
of protection which contribute to the prevention and resolution of
conflict by providing special protection to minority groups. The
module aims to provide students with a clear understanding of
these specific regimes as regards the legal framework, the actors
and the most recent developments in these regimes.
whether local populations of transitional states can and do engage
with efforts to pursue accountability and rebuild the rule of law. This
course complements the core Foundations of Transitional Justice
module and the optional Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
(HRCR) module.
Please note that not all modules listed here will be offered in every
academic year. Applicants are advised to check, prior to application, if
modules of particular interest are likely to be offered in that academic
year. Any student who does not successfully complete the dissertation
module within the time required may be awarded a Postgraduate
Diploma in Human Rights Law in place of an LLM.
About the Transitional Justice
The Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) has rapidly become internationally
recognized as a leading centre in developing the field of transitional
justice – broadly, the study of law in societies emerging from conflict.
It has placed research emanating from Northern Ireland at the
forefront of both local and global academic, legal and policy debates.
Ground-breaking research on the ‘war on terror’ and the role of peace
agreements, for example, received recognition in 2006 from the
American Society of International Law: TJI scholars were awarded the
top book and article prize for creative and outstanding contributions
to international legal scholarship – an unprecedented achievement for
a non-US research unit. The TJI was also recognized as one of the
leading law research units in the UK, with Ulster ranking 13th out of 67
law units in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
The TJI is dedicated to examining how law and legal institutions assist
(or not) the move from conflict to peace. A central assumption of
the research agenda of the TJI is that the role of law in situations of
transition is different from that in other times. In contrast to commonly
held understandings of the law as underpinning order, stability and
community, the role of law in transitional situations is a less understood
role of assisting in the transition from a situation of conflict to one of
‘peace’ (perhaps better understood as non-violent conflict).
The aims of the Institute are:
• To build a theoretical and practical understanding of the role of
‘transitional justice’, and the underlying relationship between justice
and peace;
• Transitional Justice: Regional Perspectives: This module gives
students the chance to explore how the myriad conceptual,
legal, social and political challenges of truth, justice, reparations,
reconciliation and memory interact and play out ‘on the ground’
in one particular region or set of countries around the world.
Techniques of comparative and case study methodology drawn
from social science as well as law are explored and then applied,
to allow development of critical insight alongside in-depth specialist
knowledge of one region or set of cases. The differences between
post-authoritarian, post-conflict and ongoing conflict transitional
challenges, the relationship between global and local TJ dynamics,
the articulation of regional with national and international legal and
political institutions, the bottom-up, civil society-driven nature of
much transitional justice change, and the importance of contextual
knowledge and historical, including post-colonial, sensibility
for today’s transitional justice scholar and practitioner will all be
emphasised. This module will focus, in any given year, on one of:
Latin America/ Africa/ Europe/ the Middle East, depending on staff
specialisms. • To examine the role of the international and domestic legal systems
and institutions in facilitating transition from conflict;
• Transitions from Conflict: Law and Politics: This module explores
the ways law is politicised and the rule of law is (re)introduced to
political life during transitions from conflict. It analyses the often
competing political factors that influence international and national
post-conflict law formation, in the forms of UN Security Council
resolutions, international conventions, peace agreements and
transitional constitutions to deal with legacies of mass violence. In
addition, the module considers the extent to which legal actors,
such as legislators or judges, are influenced by political factors,
The Transitional Justice Institute is affiliated to the Association of
Human Rights Institutes.
• To make links between the experience of Northern Ireland and
international experience, so as to benefit both Northern Ireland and
other contexts;
• To inform policy makers involved in peacemaking in local and
international institutions; and
• To make visible and critically examine gendered experiences of
The TJI community of researchers is housed in restored 19th century
buildings on two campuses – Dalriada House at Jordanstown and
No. 8 College Avenue at Magee . It attracts international scholars and
policy makers from all over the world. The TJI has played a key role in
taking legal research in Northern Ireland to the centre of international
stages. As such is constitutes an important resource for LL.M students
and PhD researchers.
Mode of Attendance
Entry Requirements
LLM in Human Rights Law
Full time - 3 semesters (1 year)
Part-time - 6 semesters (2+ years)
Registration: The programme will begin in September of each
academic year.
Normally a second class Honours degree or above or equivalent
recognised qualification in Law, Social Sciences, Humanities or a
cognate discipline. Allowance may be made for special qualifications,
experience and background, and students with other academic
backgrounds will be considered.
Full-time and Part-time Students
Applicants whose first language is not English should also have
The compulsory modules must be studied in Semester 1 of each year. Full-time students study the two compulsory modules in Semester
1, and four optional half-modules in Semester 2. Part-time students
study one compulsory module in Semester 1 and two optional halfmodules in Semester 2. The dissertation module is undertaken after
successful completion of the other modules.
Teaching Arrangements
The programme is taught through a combination of weekly classes
(3 hours each), and day-long block classes (9.15am to 5.15pm).
Currently, in Semester 1, the Foundations of International Human
Rights Law module is taught in twelve 3-hour classes (one per
week), and the Foundations of Transitional Justice module is taught
in five day-long block classes (approximately one per fortnight). In
Semester 2 the optional half-modules are taught either in three daylong classes (fortnightly), or six 3-hour classes (weekly). At present, all
classes are taught on Thursdays and Fridays, and all 3-hour weekly
classes are scheduled for late afternoon to facilitate attendance by
part-time students.
Students on the LLM programme are also strongly encouraged to
attend and participate in other events run by the TJI, including the
seminars in the TJI Seminar Series.
Note that enrolment on the LLM programme on a full-time basis
requires a time commitment equivalent to an average full-time
working week. Consequently, those in full-time employment are
strongly advised to take the part-time route.
Internships for LLM students
LLM students may apply for a number of prestigious internships.
Internship opportunities are available with a number of organizations
including: Disability Action (Centre on Human Rights), Law Centre
(NI) and Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM), all
based in Belfast. The internships last for a period of 10 weeks with
students being selected following a competitive application process.
The internships may run from October to December, March to June
and in the Summer months. The TJI also works to encourage and
facilitate other international internships.
Dissertation Prize
• a minimum score in IELTS test of 6.0, or
• a minimum score in TOEFL test of 550 (or the equivalent in the
computer-based test which is 240).
The online application system can be accessed via:
Applications should ordinarily be received before the last Friday in
June, although consideration may be given to applications received
after this date.
Fees and Funding
For further information on tuition and other fees, visit: Please visit the LLM section of the TJI website for information on
external funding opportunities.
International Students
Further information for international students is available at:
Further Information
For further information on the Transitional Justice Institute or the LLM
in Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice, please see: or contact either:
Ms Emer Carlin (Secretary)
Transitional Justice Institute
Magee campus
Tel: + 44 (0) 28 7167 5146
Ms Elaine McCoubrey (Secretary)
Transitional Justice Institute
Jordanstown campus
Tel: +44 (0) 28 9036 6202
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @TJI_
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) awards
the LLM Best Dissertation Prize which is given annually to the student
with the highest mark.
© University of Ulster, March 2014
This leaflet is prepared in advance of the academic year to which it relates. The University of Ulster offers the information contained in it as a guide only. While we make
every effort to check the accuracy of the factual content at the time of drafting, some changes will inevitably have occurred in the interval between publication and
commencement of the relevant academic year. We reserve the right to make changes to programmes when such action is reasonably considered to be necessary in
the context of our wider purposes.