Public International Law

10 Units

This course focuses on the relations between states, international organisations and other legal actors 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, the 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
Availability Semester 2 - 2016 (Callaghan)
Learning Outcomes

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. International criminal/humanitarian law
  8. Refugee law
  9. Human rights law
  10. Environmental law
  • This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice program.
Assumed Knowledge LAWS6001, LAWS6002A, LAWS6002B, LAWS6003A, LAWS6003B, LAWS6004A, LAWS6004B, LAWS6005.
Assessment Items
  • Essay: Research Essay
  • Presentation: Individual in-class presentations with online elements
  • Participation: Seminar Participation

Contact Hours
  • Online Activity: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term (Blended learning: online learning module for one hour equivalent per week for the full term.)
  • Seminar: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Timetable 2016 Course Timetables for LAWS6013
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