LL6005 - Public International Law (2020/21)
|Module specification||Module approved to run in 2020/21|
|Module title||Public International Law|
|Module level||Honours (06)|
|Credit rating for module||30|
|School||Guildhall School of Business and Law|
|Total study hours||300|
|Running in 2020/21||
International law is increasingly important to states, organisations and individuals, and impacts on every aspect of modern life.
This 30 credit module will provide students with a thorough knowledge of the key concepts of international law, such as the sources of international law, the definition of statehood, the principle of self-determination, states’ acquisition of title to territory and jurisdiction over territory and people, state responsibility for unlawful acts, and states’ use of force.
Knowledge of the key principles and substantive topics will be matched with understanding of the operation of international law in the real world. Students will be encouraged to approach the subject critically and to develop their analytic skills to the highest level.
The module will introduce students to the current debates and challenges in this subject, with a focus on topical examples which will bring the subject to life and motivate students to explore the subject more fully.
Teaching will be by a combination of lecture, seminar (academic discussion) and workshop (developing academic and transferable skills such as critical thinking and oral and written communication skills).
The module will be of interest to all students who take an interest in current affairs, international relations, the international order, international peace and security.
The module is relevant to a wide range of careers in law, government, politics, international relations, the media, and international business.
1. Nature and history of International Law LO 1 and 2
2. Introduction to the United Nations system and other international organisations LO 1 and 2
3. Sources of International Law LO 1 and 2
Treaties and treaty interpretation
Formation of customary rules and jus cogens
General principles of law and other sources
4. Peaceful Settlement of Disputes in International Law LO 1 and 2
By judicial means
By diplomatic means
5. Statehood and Recognition of States LO 1 and 2
International personality of international organisations
Groups of people
6. Jurisdiction of States over Territory, Persons and Events LO 1 and 2
7. Diplomatic Immunity LO 1 and 2
8. Acquisition of Title to Territory and Modern Boundary Disputes LO 1 and 2
Legal regimes of the Polar Regions and Outer Space
9. Use of Force by States LO 1 and 2
Prohibition of the use of force and self-defence
The role of the UN and UN system of collective security
State responsibility for wrongful acts
10. Law of the Sea LO 1 and 2
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
Learning & Teaching Strategy
Weekly two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar.
The lecture will be used for:
Dissemination of knowledge through an overview of each topic with detailed guidance on appropriate aspects;
An introduction to relevant academic literature;
Guidance on learning strategies;
Use of blackboard and IT resources;
Whole group questions and discussion.
The seminar will be used for:
Development of skills necessary to attain the module learning outcomes through:
Written and oral questions/answers designed to reinforce fundamental rules/principles/cases;
A range of step by step writing exercises;
IT tasks such as research of cases and statutes
All learning materials, previous examination questions and sample Q/A’s will be on blackboard for use in directed private study.
Student engagement will be encouraged in both lectures and seminars through weekly use of Weblearn for access to all of the above materials.
There will be required use of the professional legal databases, especially Westlaw and Lexis Library, for legal research
Opportunities for reflective learning/pdp
Each weekly seminar will contain space for students to reflect on what they have learnt in relation to the overall syllabus. There will be frequent feedback opportunities structured into the timetable and a range of sample answers posted onto Weblearn.
Employability strategy will aim to acquaint students with a range of employment avenues both in the legal profession and in those professions into which legal qualifications and skills are transferable.
Student’s Study Responsibilities
The need for attendance, punctuality, preparation and engagement will be emphasised with particular reference to written and IT research, problem-solving, team-work, discussion, debate and critical awareness of the subject.
On successful completion of this module, the students will be able to:
1. Independently research, evaluate, critically analysis and appraise the principles of – and controversies surrounding – public international law.
2. Demonstrate the ability to synthesise complex principles, solve legal problems and analyse contemporary issues relating to public international law.
Description of assessment items
1. Written Coursework (2,500 – 3,000 words)
An essay concentrating on the principles of international law covered thus far, set in the style of exam questions. Students will be expected to show a critical understanding of the principles of the subject, as well as their application to fictional situations and continuing and changing relevance today. .
2. Written Coursework (2,500 – 3,000 words)
Independent research based essay involving critical analysis and appraisal of advanced principles of public international law with a critical focus on the legal issues in their political, economic and historical contexts.
Aust, A, Handbook of International Law, (Cambridge University Press)
Dixon, M, Textbook on International Law, (OUP)
Dixon, M & R McCorquodale, Cases and Materials on International Law (OUP)
Evans, M, International Law Documents (OUP)
Harris, D, Cases and Materials on International Law, (Sweet & Maxwell)
Higgins, R, Problems and Process - International Law and How We Use It (OUP)
Shaw, M, International Law, (Cambridge University Press)
Simma, B, Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary, (OUP)
American Journal of International Law
Proceedings of the American Society of International Law
International and Comparative Law Quarterly
British Yearbook of International Law
International Legal Materials
Reports of the International Court of Justice
International Law Reports
http://www.un.org/ - website of the United Nations
http://www.icj-cij.org - website of the International Court of Justice
http://www.asil.org/insights/htm - website of the American Journal of International Law, short article pages
Westlaw and Lexis Library