Skip to main content


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
  • Capacity limit: 160 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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

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 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.

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

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

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.

Reading Lists