Law School Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Children's Rights Debates
Code LAW358
Coordinator Professor HE Stalford
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ First Semester 15


To provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the legal and theoretical framework underpinning children's rights. To provide students with an appreciation of the challenges (practical/ethical) of applying children's rights standards in practice. To provide a platform for critical and informed interrogation of a range of contemporary children's rights questions.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will have a thorough understanding of international, European and domestic law governing children's rights in different contexts and of the main theories underpinning children's rights. They will also be able to identify the procedural mechanisms that children can use to enforce their rights.

(LO2) Students will be able to critically interrogate a range of contemporary children's rights questions in the light of the legal, theoretical and research framework.

(LO3) Students will have a strong appreciation of the highly contested nature of children's rights in certain contexts, and the problems associated with applying universal human rights standards in diverse settings.

(LO4) Students will be able to present their arguments around contemporary children's rights questions orally and in writing, in a succinct, well-informed and critical manner. They will be able to respond to questions and challenges and to reflect on open debates.

(S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills

(S5) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Influencing skills – argumentation

(S6) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Influencing skills – persuading

(S7) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Following instructions/protocols/procedures

(S8) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

(S9) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Communicating for audience

(S10) Time and project management - Personal organisation



LECTURES Total x6 hours of context-setting lectures initially, as follows: x 2 context-setting lectures to provide an introductory overview of the theoretical framework underpinning children’s rights; x 2 context-setting lectures to explain the international, European and domestic legal framework underpinning children’s rights, as well as the interaction between these instruments; x 2 lectures to explain the procedural mechanisms in place to enable children to exercise their rights, including the status of children in judicial and administrative proceedings; the role of children’s advocates; and children’s access to complaints mechanisms. T otal x12 hours of lectures providing a basic overview of the legal and research framework underpinning substantive and contested areas of children's rights, namely: x 4 hours of lectures on the question of whether children's rights can be truly universal as opposed to culturally relativist. Specific examples will be alluded to to highlight the difficulties of imposing Western standards and resumptions of children's rights and interests in culturally diverse contexts, such as child marriage; male circumcision; and child labour. x 4 hours of lectures to interrogate the extent to which children should be allowed to make decisions about their own lives. Specific examples will be used to highlight the challenges of upholding children's decision-making autonomy in practice, including child euthanasia; gender dysphoria; and political decision-making. x4 hours of lectures exploring whether respect for children's rights should be accompanied by a greater assumption of responsibility by children. Specific examples will be used to highlight this issue, including the age of criminal responsibility; children's liability for sexual and civil offences against other children.  Total x 2 hours of summing up lectures to draw all of the themes together, reflect on the outcomes of the debates, and offer general guidance on how to prepare for the assessment. SEMINARS 3 x 2 hour debating sessions on the theme of each of the three substantive topics covered in the lectures, namely: i. Children's rights universality versus cultural relativism; ii. To what extent should children be allowed to make decisions about their own lives?; iii. If children want rights they should also accept responsibility.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

• 9 hours 10 mins of asynchronous lectures including:
o Foundation lectures
o Key concepts lectures
o Children’s rights enforcement/methods lectures
o Summing up lectures (summing up key points from the debating workshops)

• 16 hours (8 x 2 hour) of synchronous open discussion sessions (via zoom) to discuss the lecture-related exercises and respond to any questions relating to the debate preparations. Staff will be present for the entirety of these sessions which will allow students to drop in and out as they please. They will be free flowing conversations about sources they have read, questions they might have, and arguments they might want to test out.

• 12 hours (6 x 2 hours) of FTF synchronous seminars/workshops, including a 2 hour intro seminar.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 9


Timetable (if known) 120 mins X 1 totaling 18
120 mins X 1 totaling 12
Private Study 129


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Precis/engagement in debates (based on 10% engagement in each debating workshop, and 20% overall mark for precis).  5 minutes    30       
3000 words piece of coursework  -3000 words    70       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Other Staff Teaching on this Module

Ms DA Lawson School of Law and Social Justice

Modules for which this module is a pre-requisite:


Pre-requisites before taking this module (other modules and/or general educational/academic requirements):


Co-requisite modules:


Programme(s) (including Year of Study) to which this module is available on a required basis:


Programme(s) (including Year of Study) to which this module is available on an optional basis:


Additional Programme Information