Course Code : LAW 302

Course Title : Public International Law

Weekly Teaching Hour: 3-hours lecture per week, 1 (1-hour) tutorial every week

Who may enrol : Compulsory course for year 3 (Junior) LLB students .

Prerequisites : Previously studied and passed a Laws course

Lecturer : To be announced on August 2020

Description : The course aims to introduce students to the characteristic legal techniques and central doctrinal concerns of public international law.

Was the US / UK / French military intervention in Syria lawful? Is Russia legally responsible for the acts of separatists in Ukraine? Is ‘Islamic State’ a state? Is Palestine a state? Could the UK lawfully pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights? Could Scotland lawfully pull out of the UK? Does the North Pole belong to any state? What if I murder someone on the moon? Are diplomats obliged to pay parking fines? Can the UK be held responsible for its role in the CIA’s programme of ‘extraordinary rendition’? Just what is the International Court of Justice?

The course aims to explore these sorts of questions by introducing you to the characteristic legal techniques and central doctrinal concerns of public international law, the law governing the conduct of states, international organizations and certain other actors on the international plane.

The course begins with a brief introduction to the nature, efficacy and conceptual underpinnings of public international law, and then examines topics like the legal criteria of statehood and the law on the creation of states; the law governing title to territory; the sources of international law, in particular customary international law and the law of treaties; the law governing the assertion and exercise of jurisdiction, especially criminal jurisdiction, by states, as well as immunity from such exercise; the law regulating states’ recourse to armed force; the law of state responsibility; the law regulating the peaceful settlement of international disputes; and the relationship between international and English law.

Public international law will be of interest to anyone who takes an interest in international affairs. In professional terms, it is indispensable for those keen to join the ranks of the increasing numbers of barristers and solicitors whose practice involves advising states and private clients on everything from bilateral investment treaties and sovereign rights over the oil and gas of the seabed to challenging drone strikes in foreign territory before the English courts; for those thinking of working, in a legal or diplomatic capacity, for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office or its foreign equivalents, for an international organisation like the United Nations or for an international judicial institution like the International Criminal Court; and for those interested in a legal career in a non-governmental organisation like Amnesty International or Greenpeace.

Recommended Textbook (s) and Supplementary Books :

  1. M Evans (ed.), International Law (5th edn, 2018)
  2. V Lowe, International Law (2007)
  3. Public International Law: Textbook, 16th Revised edition edition , by Robert M. MacLean (Editor), Publisher: HLT Publications; ISBN-10: 0751002712, ISBN-13: 978-0751002713
  4. Public International Law Q&A , by ` Blackwell (Author), Publisher: Routledge-Cavendish; ISBN-10: 1874241376, ISBN-13: 978-1874241379

Course Assessment:

  • Class Participation 10%,

  • Mid-term Examination 30%,

  • Assignments 10%, 2 x formative essays

  • Final Examination 50%, 100% Unseen 3-hour written examination

Attendance 95 % compulsory.