LAW8146 : Foundations of Public International Law

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aims and objectives of this module can be outlined as following:

- To provide students with comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the nature and function of the international legal order from a historical and contemporary perspective;

- To identify the principles upon which the international legal system is founded and to consider the inter-relationship between the international and national legal orders;

- To assist students to comprehend how international norms come into existence with particular emphasis on the law of treaties;

- To consider the principal actors/subjects of international law, including the role of individuals and international organisations in the international legal system;

- To explore the rules governing the legal consequences resulting from violations of international law by States and how international norms are enforced;

- To discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the United Nations system, and to familiarise students with international dispute settlement procedures, including the International Court of justice;

- To examine in depth some substantive issues of international law, such as the circumstances under which resort to the use of armed force is justified under international law;

- To identify the weaknesses, but also the strengths of the international legal order.

Public International Law is a field of law with increasing significance and status, the basic understanding of which is essential for any study with international elements such as World Trade Law, Human Rights, International Environmental Law and International Commercial Law.

Outline Of Syllabus

- History, nature, function of international law and its relation with national law
- Sources
- Law of Treaties
- Subjects
- Recognition
- International State responsibility and enforcement of international law
- Collective interests and hierarchy of norms in the international legal system
- United Nations system and international dispute settlement procedures, including the International Court of Justice
- Use of armed force

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching152:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1016:00160:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The seminars will be interactive and will require advance preparation. The rationale for this teaching method is to promote analytical, argumentative and critical skills essential for discourse. The learning methods will rely on directed self study for the contact teaching time and independent study for the preparation of assessed coursework which will bring together the knowledge, cognitive, research and the assessed key skills.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A673 out of 6 questions
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M332000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The use of an examination provides an opportunity to demonstrate understanding and writing skills. It allows candidates to demonstrate intended learning outcomes across a broad range of topics within the syllabus. The coursework is justified in that it enables candidates to demonstrate in particular the outcome of research, written communication of a sophisticated order and the ability to show depth of understanding together with a range of cognitive skills.

Reading Lists