Human Rights Law (BRV230)

This course focuses on fundamental human rights, such as the freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, prohibition of discrimination, and so on. In Norwegian law, such rights are found both in the Norwegian Constitution and in international human rights treaties to which Norway is a party. Such rights are fundamental for the relationship between the public authorities and the individual. But what are the exact implications of these rights? Does freedom of speech imply that one can say whatever one wants to, or can the state set limits to this freedom, in order to protect other persons and public safety? This is one example of the kinds of difficult assessments this course is concerned with.

Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.


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The course belongs partly to constitutional law, partly to public international law, and concerns those fundamental rights each person has vis-a-vis the state, according to the Norwegian Constitution's Bill of Rights as well as according to international human rights treaties, particularly the ECHR. These fundamental rights entail limitations on the state's exercise of authority, as well as necessitating certain positive measures on the part of the public authorities. The primary responsibility for securing each person's human rights lies with the state, but there are various important international supervisory bodies, such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Learning outcome


The student must achieve an overview of:

  • the development of human rights nationally and internationally
  • the legal foundations for human rights claims in Norwegian law, and how the Norwegian Constitution's Bill of Rights and international human rights treaties overlap and supplement each other in this regard
  • important supervisory mechanisms at the national and international level

The student must achieve thorough knowledge about:

  • the principles for judicial review according to the Norwegian Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as well as the principles for interpretation of the Norwegian Bill of Rights and the ECHR
  • the state's obligation to both protect and respect each person's human rights, including the ways in which the state can curtail the reach of various human rights provisions, and particularly what conditions various interferences must satisfy
  • the following specific rights prescribed by the Norwegian Constitution's Bill of Rights and/or the ECHR: the prohibition of discrimination; the right to respect for private and family life; the freedom of expression; the right to liberty and security; the right to a fair trial; the right not to be tortured or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment


The student must be able to demonstrate that he or she:

  • is able to identify human rights issues and is able to analyze and discuss such issues by using recognized principles of interpration of national and international human rights provisions.
  • is able to analyze judgements concerning human rights issues in light of recognized principles of interpretation of national and international human rights provisions.
  • is able to work independently and to present his or her work both orally and in writing, and is able to participate in academic cooperation with other students.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

BRV120 Legal method I, BRV200 Norwegian and international legal institutions, SVEXFAC Introduction to law


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 6 Hours Letter grades Dictionary, Lovdata, To be announced (TBA),

Coursework requirements

The student must pass two mandatory assignments, within time limits and according to guidelines set by the course supervisor, in order to be admitted to the exam. One of these assignments may be organized as group work. More detailed information concerning the mandatory assignments will be published on Canvas. Apart from the two mandatory assignments, there are no mandatory curricular activites, but the students are encouraged to attend all classes that are offered.

Course teacher(s)

Course teacher:

Bjørnar Borvik

Study Program Director:

Lana Bubalo

Course coordinator:

Ola Johan Settem

Method of work

Lectures, seminars, mandatory assignments, individual study, various administrative work.

The tuition, the mandatory assignments and the final exam will be in English, and the students must answer the mandatory assignments and the final exam in English.

Stipulated time for each of the activities (it is emphasized that this is only an estimate, and that it is up to each student exactly how much time he or she devotes to each of the actitivities):

Total number of working hours: 300. Apportioned as follows:

Lectures 50 hours (preparations and supplementary work included)

Seminars 25 hours (preparations and supplementary work included)

Mandatory assignments 25 hours (combined)

Individual study 190 hours

Various administrative work 10 hours

Open for

Law - bachelor's degree program

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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