International Law

Module summary

Module code: LAW1221
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Law and Criminology
Module Coordinator(s): Kristian Humble



The aim of this module is to equip the student with the means to understand the complex nature of international law and its effect on the environment in which they live. To understand substantive applied principles of international law, the foundations of international law and also an insight into the deeper philosophical and theoretical questions which underpin the basis of international law. The course will also offer an insight into other legal employment options away from legal practice in the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. Studying international law gives the student a much wider scope to pursue employment opportunities in Europe and further afield.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1. Understand the relevance of international law to individuals, governments and states and discuss recent developments in International Law and demonstrate an understanding of their broader impact on the topic as a whole.
2. Understand the fundamental legal principles behind international law.
3. Understand how individuals (including state leaders) can be held accountable for their actions.
4. Present coherent, concise legal arguments in relation to international law.
5. Identify and describe the foundational concepts in International Law (for example, international sources, the role of sovereignty, the impact of international institutions, jurisdictions and state responsibility) with special reference to issues relevant to Europe, Middle East and Africa.
6. Compare and appraise the role of different theoretical approaches in understandings of International Law.

Indicative content

The course will offer a wide range of topics including: elements of public international law, international criminal law and international humanitarian law. There will be some relationship to topics such as law of the sea and environmental law. The following elements will be covered in the course: fundamentals of International Law including the law of the treaties and sources of international law, international personality and the recognition of statehood and government, state responsibility, use of force and self-defence, aggression, refugee law, international humanitarian law and the role of the UN, international terrorism, transitional justice, substantive international criminal law including: war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the international criminal court.

Teaching and learning activity

The module will be taught through a workshop/research session and a seminar/tutorial. These will be used to introduce students to the legal and contextual nature of international law, detailed examination of the fundamental principles of international law and a good sound understanding of the complex nature of international law. There is also contextual learning within the module through learning through film/documentaries on different international law related issues. There are also three off campus activities including a visit to the Imperial War Museum and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.


Method of Summative Assessment: Presentation.
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3 & 4.
Grading Mode: Numeric.
Weighting: 20%.
Pass Mark: 40%.
Outline Details: 10 minute individual presentation and reflective evaluation end of Term 1.

Method of Summative Assessment: Essay.
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5 & 6.
Grading Mode: Numeric.
Weighting: 80%.
Pass Mark: 40%.
Word Length: 3500 words.
Outline Details: Essay based on topic from Term 2.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning: Essay plan.