Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Human Rights Law for Social Workers

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Social Policy and Social Work

DESCRIPTION The following topics are covered in the study-unit:

1. The notion and definition of fundamental human rights, by underlining principles such as their universality, core content, beneficiaries and nature of obligations;
2. Human rights at the international, regional and national levels, in order for the students to contextualize Maltese human rights law within its broader legal and policy framework. Reference will be made instruments and actors of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Unions;
3. Malta’s human rights legal framework is covered by entering into detail on the relevant provisions of the Constitution, and on other Acts setting human rights standards;
4. The course also touches on on-going developments in Malta’s human rights regimes, inviting students to raise points of discussion relating to current and future challenges.

Study-Unit Aims:

The main objective of this study-unit is to introduce students to the sources and actors of human rights protection in Malta. It provides students with the necessary tools and skills to identify applicable human rights standards in various sectors. The study-unit therefore enables students to understand the relevant legal parameters, identify sources of further information, and be aware of those stakeholders that are able to obliged to offer human rights protection.

Study-Unit Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- know the core values underlying human rights discourse and concepts;
- know the sources of human rights law in Malta;
- know the main actors of human rights protection (governmental and non-governmental).

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- relate human rights values with social work practice;
- understand the importance of human rights in interactions with clients;
- understand the responsibilities human rights imposes on social workers, particularly for those engaged with public entities;
- be more aware of existing support structures and how to access them;
- read legal instruments and understand core definitions and concepts.

Lectures are based on an inclusive discussion approach whereby students are invited to engage in an active dialogue with their peers and with the lecturer. Advance readings of provided materials enhances the student’s ability to participate in discussions and, thereby, obtain a more in-depth grasp of the subject-matter.

References and Text-books:

Materials are provided through VLE, but the following are recommended as minimum reading:

1. Constitution of Malta and other legislation (provided on VLE);
2. Ife Jim, Human Rights and Social Work: Towards a Rights-Based Practice, 2012;
3. International Federation of Social Workers European Region, Standards in Social Work Practice meeting Human Rights, (provided on VLE);
4. Various policies and statements of the International Federation of Social Workers (provided on VLE).


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Oral and Written Exercises No 20%
Examination (1 Hour) Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Neil Falzon

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.