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 the dilemma of conflict resolution between parties under international law. Special attention will be paid to the recognition of states and their consequent obligations, the law of treaties and topical issues in international law, for example criminal justice, refugees, the law of the sea and human rights. 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. A blended learning format will enable active learning and encourage student engagement with topical issues.

Faculty Faculty of Business and Law
School Newcastle Law School
Availability Semester 2 - 2018 (Newcastle City Precinct)
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
  2. States and other international legal actors; Recognition
  3. Acquisition of territory
  4. Sources of international law
  5. International and domestic law
  6. Treaties
  7. The law of the sea
  8. The use of force and the law of self-defence
  9. State responsibility
  10. Peaceful settlement of international disputes
  11. International criminal law
  12. International human rights law
  13. The rights of refugees and forced migrants


  • This course is only available to students who are active in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice program and have successfully completed LAWS6000, LAWS6001, LAWS6002A&B, LAWS6003A&B and LAWS6004A&B OR those who are enrolled in Master of Laws program.
Assumed Knowledge LAWS6001, LAWS6002A, LAWS6002B, LAWS6003A, LAWS6003B, LAWS6004A, LAWS6004B, LAWS6005.
Assessment Items
  • Participation: Seminar Participation
  • Presentation: Individual Presentation
  • Quiz: Online quizzes
  • Essay: Research Essay

Contact Hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Online Activity

Online 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Blended learning: online learning module for one hour equivalent per week for the full term.


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
One hour online learning module to be completed each week prior to seminar

Timetable 2018 Course Timetables for LAWS6013
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