LLAW6062 & JDOC6062

General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6062 / JDOC6062
Course name: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: June
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits

1.2 Course description

Economic, social and cultural rights (“ESC rights”) are often referred to as ‘second generation human rights’ in the international human rights discourse. One of the most significant pieces of international human rights instrument which guarantees ESC rights is the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, entered into force in 1976). ESC rights are similar to civil and political rights in many respects, but there are also fundamental differences. ESC rights had generated much controversy in the past, as they were regarded by many as merely “aspirational rights” – rights not immediately realizable but dependent on the level of development and affluence of a state. However, there had been significant developments in acknowledging the justiciability of ESC rights in recent years. ESC rights cases have since been litigated in many national courts, with varying degrees of success. There has also been a bourgeoning of academic literature on the subject, as well as an increasing reference to ESC rights by human rights organizations in advocacy campaigns. Yet there remain significant issues on the substantive contents and implementation of these rights, and on how to monitor states’ compliance.

This course will begin with a discussion of the theoretical and historical development of ESC rights under the international human rights system. It will then examine the sources of ESC rights, the obligations of states and the implementation of ESC rights at both international and domestic levels. Among the substantive contents of ESC rights, the course will study the right to food, the right to water, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to work, the right to social welfare, and the right to housing. The course will also look at approaches to monitoring and advocacy strategies for the realization of ESC rights.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Karen Kong kykong@hku.hk CCT 910 By email

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Understand the different conceptual foundations of ESC rights.

CLO 2 Explain the historical development of ESC rights under the international human rights framework.

CLO 3 Analyse the content and scope of selected ESC rights and their relevant case law.

CLO 4 Critically evaluate the adjudication of selected ESC rights at the international, regional and national levels.

CLO 5 Examine the approaches to monitor the implementation of ESC rights and advocacy strategies in practice.

CLO 6 Conduct in-depth research and analysis on a current topic on ESC rights.

2.2 LLM and JD Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link:

LLM – https://course.law.hku.hk/llm-plo/

JD – https://course.law.hku.hk/jd-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course

CLO 2  ✓
CLO 3  ✓


3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
TBA TBC 100% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  *Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3-hour seminars in June 2021
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

Learning Resources

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/