Self enrolment (Student)


Surely, you have heard that fundamental rights need to be protected? Have you wondered how anyone could be questioning it? Did you know that Europe not only developed the concept, but has also continued to discuss the nature of fundamental rights? Have you ever been confused as to the roles and instruments of different European institutions in the domain of human rights protection, and would like to understand the issues better? If so, this course is for you!

Human rights protection is a serious issue that merits an in-depth investigation. This course explores the role of fundamental rights protection in Europe. It explains the meaning of fundamental rights, their specific features, types and status in Europe. The course discusses why, how and which institutions are responsible for the protection of the fundamental rights. It introduces the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), a leading legal instrument in Europe in the field of human right protection adopted by the Council of Europe. The Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Union regulation that protects the rights for its citizens and residents is also presented. The course also offers some practical and legal examples of how fundamental rights can be protected, and their infringements – challenged.

By following the course, you will be able to distinguish between the two legal regimes of human rights protection in Europe, developed under aegis of two different international organisations. You will know what may happen if, for example, an EU Member State infringes on fundamental rights, and how individuals may seek protection of their rights. You will also get an insight into how the Union’s institutions and bodies contribute to the development of these rights and their promotion both in the Member States and in third countries.


Lesson 1: Human rights, fundamental rights – what is it all about?
  • Introduction
  • What are human rights?
  • Fundamental rights
Lesson 2: Who is protecting human rights in Europe?
  • How do European States safeguard fundamental rights?
  • How does the Council of Europe protect the human rights?
  • How does the European Union protect fundamental rights?
Lesson 3: The European Union as a promoter of fundamental rights protection
  • The Union’s actions aimed to promote fundamental rights
  • The Union’s institutions involved
  • The European Council
  • The Council
  • European Parliament
  • European Commission
  • Court of Justice
  • European Ombudsman
  • The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
  • Latest challenge – Can the Union accede to the ECHR?

Lesson 4: Fundamental rights in the EU
  • Status of the fundamental rights in the EU law
  • Specific fundamental rights
  • What if a Member State infringes on fundamental rights?
Lesson 5: Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • What is in the Charter?
  • Who is bound by the Charter?
  • What may happen if a Member State infringes on the Charter?
Final test

Dr Justyna Łacny Bio note
Self enrolment (Student)