Public International Law

10 Units

This course focuses on the relations between states, international governmental bodies, communities and individuals within the public international legal framework. It explores competing notions of sovereignty, and whether the traditional dominance of state sovereignty is being diminished in the twenty-first century. Special attention will be paid to the recognition of states and their consequent obligations, the law of treaties and topical issues including international criminal justice, refugees, environment, human rights and critical perspectives on international law. Students will gain specialised knowledge of the international legal framework, and engage with a range of controversial debates reflecting the politicised nature of international law.

Faculty Faculty of Business and Law
School Newcastle Law School

Not currently offered


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate advanced and integrated understanding of public international law doctrine, principles and the role of legal institutions
  2. Identify and articulate contentious issues in public international law, and apply legal research and reasoning to generate proposed responses.
  3. Critically evaluate the relationship between public international law and the politics of the international community.
  4. Reflect on the significance of notions of justice, sovereignty and rights within the international legal framework.
  5. Conduct high-level legal research, exploring primary and secondary materials, in order to generate and justify theoretical and practical legal propositions.
  6. Prepare and present cogent arguments, orally and in writing that are, persuasive for a legal audience

Topics in this course include the following:

  1. Nature of international law and legal persons
  2. Recognition of states, acquisition of territory, state responsibility
  3. Sources of international law
  4. Treaties
  5. Peaceful settlement of international disputes
  6. The use of force
  7. Humanitarian law
  8. Criminal law
  9. Refugee law
  10. Human rights law
  11. Environmental law
Replacing Course(s) na
Transition na
Industrial Experience 0
Assumed Knowledge LAWS6001, LAWS6002A, LAWS6002B, LAWS6003A, LAWS6003B, LAWS6004A, LAWS6004B, LAWS6005.
Modes of Delivery Internal Mode
Teaching Methods Lecture
Assessment Items
  • Essays / Written Assignments - Mid semester problem based assignment Research Essay
  • Group/tutorial participation and contribution - Students will receive a participation mark which will be assessed on the basis of the following: a. Evidence that the prescribed readings have been completed; b. Active engagement and willingness to participate in seminar discussion and activities, responses, questions or other contributions that indicate a comprehension of the relevant material and thoughtful and intelligent consideration of the issues it raises; c. Responses, questions or other considerations that indicate an awareness of the broader legal and policy issues.
Contact Hours
  • Lecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
  • Tutorial: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
  • Requisite by Enrolment: This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
Course Materials None listed
Timetable 2015 Course Timetables for LAWS6013

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