Bachelor of Laws: Human Rights Law

A comprehensive guide to legal research created by the VU Law Library
1.  Fundamental rights said to inhere in every individual on the basis of their humanity. Human rights have received their most renowned exposition in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948. The idea is that every person should have an equal right to the most extensive system of fundamental rights and freedoms compatible with a similar system of rights and freedoms for every other person

2.  The rights and freedoms recognised in law. In Australia, rights and freedoms may be constitutionally entrenched and guaranteed, recognised at common law, or declared by any relevant statute (often on the basis of an international instrument): (CTH) Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 s 3(1).
(Encyclopaedic Australian Legal Dictionary, 2011)

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Laws of Australia - Legal Encyclopaedia

United Nations Resources

Human Rights Law Web Sites

Journals Databases

AGIS (Attorney Gererals Information Service) - is the leading legal journals database in Australia.  Use AGIS to search hundreds of journals for Australian and New Zealand journal articles.  Note that Boolean operators must be in capital letters. 

The search show below will locate the word joslin, the phrase new zealand where they appear together in a record.  It will aso locate any records that contain the phrase same-sex marriage.

(joslin AND "new zealand") OR 'same-sex marriage"


Westlaw International is a large collection of legal databases and contains over 1,000 mostly US and UK legal journals as well as other material. 

The search shown below will locate journals articles that contain the word joslin in the same sentence (/s) as the phrase new zealand.

joslin /s "new zealand"

Related Subjects in VU Catalogue



United Nations Materials / Treaties  - AGLC4 Rule 8

Frequently Cited UN Treaties / Official Documents

Charter of the United Nations.

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, opened for signature 10 December 1984, 1465 UNTS 85 (entered into force 26 June 1987). 

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, opened for signature 4 November 1950, 213 UNTS 221 (entered into force 3 September 1953).

Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, opened for signature 18 December 1979, 1249 UNTS 13 (entered into force 3 September 1981).

Convention on the Rights of the Child, opened for signature 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990).

Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature 13 December 2006, 2515 UNTS 3 (entered into force 3 May 2008).

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, opened for signature 28 July 1951, 189 UNTS 150 (entered into force 22 April 1954).

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, opened for signature 16 December 1966, 999 UNTS 171 (entered into force 23 March 1976).

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, opened for signature 16 December 1966, 993 UNTS 3 (entered into force 3 January 1976.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, opened for signature 21 December 1965, 660 UNTS 195 (entered into force 4 January 1969).

Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, opened for signature 11 December 1997, 2303 UNTS 148 (entered into force 16 February 2005).

Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, opened for signature 15 April 1994, 1867 UNTS 3 (entered into force 1 January 1995) annex 1C ('Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights').

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, GA Res 217A (III), UN GAOR, UN Doc A/810 (10 December 1948).

United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, opened for signature 11 April 1980, 1489 UNTS 3 (entered into force I January 1988).

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, opened for signature 23 May 1969, 1155 UNTS 331 (entered into force 27 January 1980).

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, GA Res 61/295, UN Doc A/RES/61/295 (2 October 2007, adopted 13 September 2007).

Decisions of UN Treaty Committees

Sample Reference to Human Rights Committee View

Human Rights Committee, Views: Communication No 900/1999, 76th sess, UN Doc CCPR/C/76/D/900/1999 (13 November 2002) (‘C v Australia’).

Where a pinpoint reference is included it should follow immediately after the date.

Please refer to AGLC Rule 9.3.1


Sample Reference to Human Rights Committee General Comment

Human Rights Committee, General Comment No 33: Obligations of States Parties under the Optional Protocol to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, 94th sess, UN Doc CCPR/C/GC/33 (25 June 2009)

Please refer to rule 9.2

Somestimes the session is not shown on the document.  RefWorld is a handy site to look up session numbers for UN documents - search by UN Doc number / symbol