LAW 1508 - International Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

This course provides students with an introduction to law in its global context in this age of trans-national and inter-jurisdictional practice, with particular focus on public international law and its role in shaping the international legal order. The course commences with an introduction to the development and nature of public international law as well as distinctive elements of international legal reasoning. It then addresses key features of international law, with topics chosen from: the sources of international law with emphasis on customary international law and the law of treaties; international fact finding; the structure of the international community and participants in the international legal system; the peaceful settlement of international disputes; state responsibility; jurisdiction and immunity; international maritime law and the law of the sea; the use of force; international human rights; the law of armed conflict and International Space Law.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 1508
    Course International Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1501
    Corequisites LAW 1501 for Mid-year entry students only
    Incompatible LAW 2520
    Restrictions Available to LLB, Bachelor of Criminology with Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Teaching (Middle) with Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) with Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Teaching with Bachelor of Arts only
    Course Description This course provides students with an introduction to law in its global context in this age of trans-national and inter-jurisdictional practice, with particular focus on public international law and its role in shaping the international legal order. The course commences with an introduction to the development and nature of public international law as well as distinctive elements of international legal reasoning. It then addresses key features of international law, with topics chosen from: the sources of international law with emphasis on customary international law and the law of treaties; international fact finding; the structure of the international community and participants in the international legal system; the peaceful settlement of international disputes; state responsibility; jurisdiction and immunity; international maritime law and the law of the sea; the use of force; international human rights; the law of armed conflict and International Space Law.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Dale Stephens

    Course Staff
    Professor Dale Stephens 
    Room 2.17, Ligertwood Building
    Email: Phone: 08 8313 5937

    Dr Rebecca La Forgia
    Room 2.10, Ligertwood Building
    Email: Phone: 08 8313 0877

    Dr Matthew Stubbs
    Room 3.13, Ligertwood Building
    Email: Phone: 08 8313 3530

    Dr Stacey Henderson.
    Room 3.10 Ligertwood Building
    Email: Phone 08 313 2717
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    International Law is essentially the law which governs the relationship between nation-states, although the subjects of international law now also extend to individuals, international organisations and other actors.

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

    1. Identify the nature of international law and the structure of the international legal system and explain the basic elements of public international law. Undertake legal research using primary and secondary material to resolve practical and theoretical problems.
    2. Apply international law in practical contexts, including the law surrounding the use of force, space law and human rights.
    3. Construct legal argument, and analyse and communicate issues of international law, both orally and in writing.
    4. Create and defend a principled and ethical argument.
    5. Analyse the impact of international law on diverse peoples, and critique the operation of international law from a range of ethical perspectives.
    6. Reflect on and justify a legal position in a social context. Use feedback to inform individual improvements.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Stephen Hall, Principles of International Law (LexisNexis 6th ed, 2019).

    Recommended Resources
    The law library has an extensive collection of international law textbooks, many of which are held on Reserve. We would recommend starting with the following texts if you require further information on one of the topics addressed in the course:

    · James Crawford, Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law (Oxford University Press, 8th ed, 2012).
    · Donald R Rothwell et al, International Law: Cases and Materials with Australian Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
    · Gillian D Triggs, International Law: Contemporary Principles and Practices (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed, 2010).
    · Vaughan Lowe, International Law (Oxford University Press, 2007).
    · Malcolm N Shaw, International Law (Cambridge University Press, 6th ed, 2008).
    · Peter Malanczuk (ed), Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law (Routledge, 7th rev ed, 1997).
    · Donald K Anton, Penelope Mathew and Wayne Morgan, International Law: Cases and Materials (Oxford University Press, 2005).
    · Sam Blay, Ryszard Piotrowicz and Martin Tsamenyi, Public International Law: An Australian Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2005).
    · Robert Jennings and Arthur Watts (eds), Oppenheim’s International Law (Longman, 9th ed, 1992).
    · David Harris, Cases and Materials on International Law (Sweet and Maxwell, 7th ed, 2010).
    · Anthony E Cassimatis et al, An Australian Companion to Harris (Lawbook Co, 2nd ed, 2011).
    · Martin Dixon, Textbook on International Law (Oxford University Press, 6thed, 2007).
    · Antonio Cassese, International Law (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2005).
    · Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review Association, 3rd ed, 2010)
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, additional lecture materials (including slides, and where available, recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Profile and Course Materials.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Each week students will be expected to attend a two-hour lecture, as well as a one-hour seminar which involve discussion of answers prepared by students to questions set addressing the topic for that week.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Contact time: attend or listen 2 hours lectures plus 1 hour seminar each week. This amounts to 36 hours of formal class time across the semester.

    Preparation time: In addition to attending formal classes it is anticipated that students will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assignments. The University expects full time students (those undertaking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Lecture and Seminar Topic Lecturer
    1 Course Introduction (Objectives, Structure & Content)/Nature of International Law 
    Sources of International Law – Customary International Law
    2 Sources of International Law – Treaties, General Principles, Subsidiary Sources and ‘Soft Law’ RLF
    3 Statehood, Sovereignty and Territory  MS
    4 Maritime Jurisdiction and Law of the Sea DS
    5 International Space Law  DS
    6 State Responsibility & Remedies RLF
    7 Jurisdiction and Fact Finding RLF
    8 International Law in Australia RLF
    Mid-Semester Break
    9 International Human Rights  MS
    10 Use of Force  DS
    11 Law of Armed Conflict DS
    12 Revision DS & RLF
    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no additional requirements for completion of this course other than described elsewhere in this document.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task % of final mark Due date Length Task Type
    Redeemable Course Learning outcomes
    Short Answer Essay 30% Friday – Week 6, 2:00pm 2000 words Individual Yes 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Quiz 1 (online)
    Quiz 2 (online)
    Each Quiz worth 5% = 10% Quiz 1 Friday - Week 4, 4.00pm 
    Quiz 2 Friday - Week 8, 
    Quiz 1 = 10 questions
    Quiz 2 = 10 questions
    Individual No 1,2,3
    Examination (online) 60% or 90% In semester 2 examination period 2 and a half hours, open book Individual No 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Quiz (2 x 5% = 10%)

    Students will be expected to complete 2 x 10 question online quizzes worth 5% each. One completed in Week 4 and the other completed in Week 8.  Each quiz must be completed in one sitting. 

    Interim Assignment (30% redeemable)
    For the interim assignment, students pick from one of two possible questions. One question will be in an essay format, the other will be posed in a problem format. This assessment is redeemable by exam for those who make a bona fide effort as assessed by the course coordinator.

    Online Examination (60% or 90%)
    A two and a half hour (2 hours and 30 minutes) open book examination will be scheduled during the semester two examination period. The examination will draw from all topics addressed in the course (hence any topic covered is potentially examinable). Students will be required to answer some questions based on the application of the relevant law to a problem scenario and other questions which will require a short essay-style answer.

    The weighting of the final exam will vary as follows:

    For a student who, in the view of the course convener, does not submit a bona fide effort for the assignment or does better on the assignment than the final exam - 60%.

    For a student who does submit a bona fide effort for the assignment but does better on the final exam - 90%.

    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    The essay must be submitted in accordance with the specific directions contained in the essay instructions which will be made available on MyUni.

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made electronically, according to law school policy, at
    Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.

    Late Submission: 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc. Hard copy submissions made after 5.00pm on a Friday will be assumed to have been submitted on the next business day and will be penalised accordingly.

    Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information. Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Student feedback The course is constantly being updated and revised to reflect the evolution of the law, to respond to student feedback, and to engage with the latest teaching practices. Student feedback is collected each time the course is run, including through SELT reports. Previous SELT reports, and staff feedback on them, are posted on the course MyUni site for students to view and consider.
  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Integrity
    All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Academic Misconduct is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic Misconduct (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia. Academic Integrity is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.