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LAW3017 : Public International Law

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s):
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to provide a critical 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 acquire knowledge and understanding of critical approaches to 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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
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.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion701:0070:00N/A
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; each lecture will introduce both the doctrinal basis of international law and important areas of critique.
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 critical approaches to international law as well as formative practice opportunities ahead of the summative assessments. 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 pre-recorded 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 one 3,000word essay, students will need sufficient time to undertake independent research and to prepare, draft and edit their work.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A1003000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2M500-word essay plan
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative assessed coursework will give students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their research skills, and their ability to understand the operation of international law, and present coherent arguments supported by appropriate legal basis as well as academic literature. The coursework will offer students a chance to develop their interest in one of the topic areas studied in the module, developing research skills and encouraging deeper analytical study.

The formative 500 word essay plan will allow students to develop their research skills and plans for the summative assessment giving students the opportunity to develop their research skills and presentation.

Reading Lists