LAW 3539 - Advanced International Law: Interpretation in International Law

North Terrace Campus - Winter - 2019

This course provides students with an understanding of the theory and practice of interpretation in international law. It is an advanced study of the interpretation of legal obligations, which forms the foundation for understanding international law. The interpretation and negotiation of international treaty law is also a highly practical skill. This course will consider interpretation from a variety of perspective of examining who in the international legal order has the authority to interpret and how choices are made. The emphasis is on practice and skills. The course will also consider the scholarly literature on interpretative theories. The practice of interpretation will also be examined drawing from different contexts such as Security Council resolutions, multilateral and bilateral treaties. Case studies will be undertaken for example; The international law governing Armed Drones, Fact Finding, The Right to Water and Sanitation, Transparency in Investor State Dispute Settlements in Free Trade Agreements, access to medicines and topical current case studies. The aim of the course is to provide students with a practical skills and a sound appreciation of interpretative issues in the international legal system.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 3539
    Course Advanced International Law: Interpretation in International Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Winter
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1501 and LAW 2520 or LAW 1508
    Restrictions Available to LLB students only
    Course Description This course provides students with an understanding of the theory and practice of interpretation in international law. It is an advanced study of the interpretation of legal obligations, which forms the foundation for understanding international law. The interpretation and negotiation of international treaty law is also a highly practical skill. This course will consider interpretation from a variety of perspective of examining who in the international legal order has the authority to interpret and how choices are made. The emphasis is on practice and skills. The course will also consider the scholarly literature on interpretative theories. The practice of interpretation will also be examined drawing from different contexts such as Security Council resolutions, multilateral and bilateral treaties. Case studies will be undertaken for example; The international law governing Armed Drones, Fact Finding, The Right to Water and Sanitation, Transparency in Investor State Dispute Settlements in Free Trade Agreements, access to medicines and topical current case studies. The aim of the course is to provide students with a practical skills and a sound appreciation of interpretative issues in the international legal system.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Rebecca LaForgia


    Dr Rebecca La Forgia

    Room 2.10, Ligertwood Building

    Email: rebecca.laforgia@adelaide.edu.au
    Phone: 08 8313 0877
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Explain and identify the practice of international legal interpretation in a variety of contexts. 
    2. Examine the operation and application of international law in practical and real case based contexts. 
    3. Refine and develop reflective written skills and communication skills of writing legal arguments, listening and persuasion. 
    4. Present persuasive and detailed written arguments based on contemporary international legal research.
    5. Develop written and oral skills to explore and defend legal interpretative positions from a variety of perspectives. 
    6. Undertake self-directed international legal research that supports interpretative arguments over contemporary applications of international law in society.
    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)
    1,2,6
    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
    1,2,3,5,6,
    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
    2,3
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1,2,3,4,5,6,
    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
    2,3,
    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
    3,4,5,6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    All required readings and resources will be available online via MyUni. There will also be the choice to purchase the compiled readings in one collated bundle.
    Recommended Resources
    A list of recommended readings will be made available through My Uni. My Uni will also feature a page of links to useful internet resources and news articles. These will be particularly helpful in locating material on contemporary international events and issues relevant to the course.
     
    Online Learning



    The course is supported by the Course Home page on MyUni website. The website contains links to the following resources:



    1. Course information, including the Course Profile and the seminar and lecture guide.

    2. Course materials – such as items of assessment, lecture PowerPoint slides, and other course materials which will be posted from time to time. 


    Lectures – audio streaming of lectures and video streaming of lecture slides will be posted (where available) under the Course Materials link as soon as possible after each lecture. This is subject as always to the technology working, so attendance is encouraged.  Also please note this is a intensive winter school so there will be interactive seminars and these will not be recorded. 



    3. Grade book – where students’ grades will be entered for each assignment.

    MyUni will also be used to post announcements, and assignment tasks. Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course. Students should also regularly check their email



    4. Students will also have access to short pre-recorded videos to support their learning.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be taught intensively.  Each day will have six contact hours.

    These contact hours will include some short lectures, but predominantly involve large and small group discussion and activities in
    which students will be required to research, discuss, debate and defend their analysis of the relevant material set in the course readings.

    It is absolutely critical that students have undertaken the reading before coming to class.
    Workload

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

    Contact time: the course will be made up of six days each with six hours of contact. The days will commence at 10 am and conclude
    at 5 pm. This amounts to 36 hours of formal class time during the winter 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
    Schedule
    CLASSES DAY TOPIC
    Class One Tuesday am Introduction; Course requirements, assessment and skills based exercises in class
    Class Two Tuesday pm Examining the importantace of international legal interpretation in a variety of contexts; including soft law, withdrawal from treaties and multilateralism.
    Class Three Wednesday am Interpreting Security Council Resolutions  and Interpreting International Human Rights 
    Class Four Wednesday pm International law and legal interpretation in the context of  the use of armed drones.
    Class Five Friday am Overview of Interpretation as legal counsel;  Explaining and advising on Interpretation in the context of the High Court. Oral Advocacy.
    Class Six Friday pm Introduction of International Human Rights Framework and
    Q and A Revision session for take home assessment and trial of group activity.
    Class Seven Tuesday am The role of international legal interpretation; The international human right to Sanitation.
    Class Eight Tuesday pm The role of international law and  treaty development; Business and Human Rights
    Class Nine Wednesday am Interpretation in action; Gender and International Law
    Class Ten Wednesday pm Interpretation of International Law and Extreme Poverty
    Class Eleven Friday am Group activity for assessment; Appearing before a conference at the High Court of Australia on treaty Interpreation.
    Class Twelve Friday pm Review and Q and A
  • 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
     % of Final Mark
     Task Type
    Due Date  Redeemable
    Length Course Learning Outcomes
    Contemporary case study on International legal interpretation.  20%

     indvidual

    Monday  the 22nd  of July 4.00pm  
    Yes

    (On basis of a bona fide of not less than 40%)
    1000 words 1,2,3,4,5,
    Group Presentation 
    Compulsory 
     10%  group

    In class  No
    2,,4,5,


    Research Essay

      70%  or 90%

    indvidual
    Friday 16th August 4.00pm
    No
    5000 words
    1,2,3,4,5,6
    All assessment tasks are compulsory. 
    Assessment Detail
    1.  The contemporary case study on international legal interpretation.

    Worth 20%. This assessment will be distributed to students on the first day of class.
    Every student must complete  by Monday the 22nd of July at 4.00pm.  This is an individual piece of assessment.   It will
    cover material covered in the first week on this Winter Intensive.  DUE DATE:  Monday 22nd of July 4.00pm.  The word length is 1,000 words.


    2. Group Presentation

    Class presentation (10%) group task which will occur on Friday the 26th  of July ( the last teaching day of the Winter school). Students will be required to prepare and present to the group on a topic to be determined in the first class.  On day three of Winter school the groups will be finalised and there will be a futher refinement of the topic.


    3.  Research Essay

     A 5,000 word research paper ( 70% or 90%) on topics to be distributed on the first day of winter school. 




    Submission
    Submission

    Assignments must be handed in electronically by Turnitin.

    Students must ensure their student number appears on all written work submitted for assessment.Electronic copies of the assignment as handed in must be retained by students.Assignments will be returned electronically. It is also advisable to keep written work after it has been assessed and returned.

    Extensions

    Extensionsare granted at the discretion of Course Coordinator. Extensions beyond the due date are usually only granted in the case of significant unforeseen incapacity.Students who wish to apply, should apply for an extension by completing the online Application for Extension form (found at http://www.law.adelaide.edu.au/student/forms/).  

    The application must give details of the extent and length of the student’s incapacity, and the length of extension that is requested. The Course Coordinator will email students with the outcome of their request as soon as possible after it is received. If an extension is granted, it is only provisional until formal evidence of the incapacity is received. Students must attach this evidence as well as the email granting the extension to the assignment when it is submitted.

    The evidence submitted must be consistent with details provided in the email requesting the extension. If the details of the request for an extension, and the medical or other evidence verifying the reason for the extension are not consistent in all respects, the extension may be nullified, and the Course Coordinator may in their discretion decide not to accept the assignment, or impose a penalty for late submission.You can apply for an extension at any time before the due date for an assignment. However, you are strongly advised to make your application as soon as the need becomes apparent.

    Delay in making an application obviously involves the risk that there will be insufficient time to complete the assignment (with consequential loss of marks) if the application for extension is refused.If an application is made within two days of the due date, or after the due date has expired, it will not be granted unless the Course Co-ordinator is satisfied: that the circumstances warrant an extension; and there was no unreasonable delay in making the application. If your request for an extension is rejected, you can appeal in writing to the Student Appeals Committee, via the Secretary to the Student Appeals Committee, within seven days of notification of rejection by the Course Co-ordinator.

    Penalties 

    Penalties for Late Submission5% 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.
    Penalties for Exceeding Stipulated 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.

    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 Acess Adelaide at the end of each semester.

    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).

     
    Moderation

    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.


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

  • 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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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 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.

    Further information regarding the Law School Policies and Procedures in relation to Supplementary Assessment, Extensions, and Remarks etc can be found at:

    http://law.adelaide.edu.au/student/assessment/




    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (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 honesty 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.