Module Catalogue 2023/24

LAW3017 : Public International Law

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ruth Houghton
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to provide an introduction to public international law.
•       To acquire knowledge and understanding of the nature of the international legal system, as well as its function, rules, and procedures.
•       To consider contemporary debates on the role and scope of International Law.
•       To develop further critical and analytical skills in International Law.

Outline Of Syllabus

Issues examined both doctrinally and through critical approaches include:
• Nature, sources, and subjects of International Law
• The law of treaties
• The United Nations
• The international system for the peaceful settlement of international disputes
• The use of force
• Jurisdiction and immunities
• The international responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:
•       Show knowledge and understanding of International Law, its rules and processes and the way in which they relate to each other;
•       Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of specific issues in International Law as well as contemporary debates on International Law;
•       Discuss and critically evaluate International Law, including its role and scope within contemporary debates.

Intended Skill Outcomes

•       Ability to write and speak with care and precision in the analysis and synthesis of International Law;
•       Ability to identify issues for research and to retrieve accurate and relevant legal norms, case-law, and literature;
•       Ability to structure argument and analysis, using the interpretative methods of International Law;

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion701:0070:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00FLEX – could be moved to synchronous or non-synchronous on-line
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials61:006:00A combination of short recordings of lecture material and text published on Canvas.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study197:0097:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures: to provide an overview of the background and main principles of international law

Small group teaching: these are in the form of one-hour seminars, they will provide an opportunity to develop further analytical and critique skills. The seminars will include things such as presentations, debate propositions, and group work. These components will provide space for discussion on international law as well as formative practice opportunities ahead of the summative assessment. All seminars will be synchronous events (whether online or present-in-person).

Drop-in hours: these drop-in style sessions will provide students with an opportunity to ask a member of the teaching team questions about the module and substantive questions about the content.

Structured non-synchronous online lecture materials: alongside the lecture materials, students will be directed towards relevant online materials and prompted to answer questions and reflect.

Independent study: alongside seminar handouts, students will be directed towards cases or academic articles and will be asked a series of reflective questions; this will further develop their understanding of the areas and provide an opportunity to practice critical analysis of the sources being read.

Assessment preparation and completion: as the summative assessment is a 24 hour exam, students will need sufficient time to undertake independent research and to prepare for their assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination14402A10024-hour take-home paper (Answer 3 questions from a choice of 6)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written Examination2MMock Exam - Answer one exam question in timed conditions.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative exam will give students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their ability to understand the operation of international law, and present coherent arguments supported by appropriate legal basis as well as academic literature. The exam allows students to demonstrate learning outcomes across a broad range of topics within the syllabus.

The formative will allow students to test their understanding of the course to date and practice writing answers to international law questions.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.