LAW 7170 - Public International Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

This course provides students with an understanding of the system of public international law which regulates relations between actors on the global stage. Topics include: the nature of international law; sources of international law, including treaties, customary international law and general principles of law; participants in the international legal system, including statehood, legal personality and diplomatic protection; territory; state responsibility; jurisdiction and immunity; the relationship between international law and Australian law; the international law of human rights; the operation of the United Nations system, including the role of the General Assembly, international dispute settlement and the role of the International Court of Justice, and the law regulating the use of force and the role of the Security Council.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7170
    Course Public International Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Incompatible LAW 2520 and LAW 1508
    Assessment 30% - 2,000 word current issues analysis (optional); 70% or 100% - 4,500 word research essay from a list of approved topics (compulsory).
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Matthew Stubbs

    Course Timetable

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

    This course is taught intensively over 5 days.

    On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, the timetable will be (roughly) 9-11am (topic 1 for the day), 12-2pm (topic 2 for the day), and 3-5pm (topic 3 for the day).

    On Wednesday, there are no formal classes - this is the day students will start to refine their essay topic, and I will be available for consultation to assist in this process.

    In advance of the course, students will be given access to online lectures which should be watched in preparation for the classes - the material covered in the lectures will be the assumed foundation on which the classes are built (and will not be repeated at the classes).

    Because of the intensive nature of the course, it will be of paramount importance for students to ensure that they are able to devote sufficient time to their studies in the lead-up to the classes, and especially during the week of classes. Each teaching day is the equivalent of 3 weeks of a 12-week semester-length course, both in terms of classroom time but also (and more importantly) in terms of the time needed for reading and preparation.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Understand the nature of public international law and the structure of the international legal system
    2 Define and apply the basic elements of public international law - its sources and subjects, the recognition and jurisdiction of States in international law and principles of State responsibility
    3 Develop an understanding of several key areas of ‘public international law’ including the law surrounding the use of force and human rights
    4 Understand how international law influences the development and adaptation of Australian domestic law through legislative, executive and judicial action
    5 Critically examine the operation and application of international law in practical contexts
    6 Develop effective skills, both orally and in writing, in the construction of legal argument and analysis on issues of international law
    7 Undertake self-directed international legal research at a high level, including through the use of online technologies.
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,2,3,4,5,7
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 5,6,7
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 5,6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 7
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 5,7
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Stephen Hall, Principles of International Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 4th ed, 2014).
    Recommended Resources
    The law library has an extensive collection of international law textbooks, many of which are held on Reserve. I 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
    For most topics, the first hour will be devoted to an interactive discussion of either an important case on that topic or of a relevant article or commentary addressing that topic, while the second will involve discussion of questions (both conceptual and practical/problem-based) on the topic.

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

    Contact time: Students will attend 24 hours of contact time in the week the course is taught.

    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, including through watching pre-recorded lectures in advance of the classes.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Public International Law - Topic Outline
    9-11am 12-2pm 3-5pm
    Monday Nature and Development of International Law; Customary International Law The Law of Treaties; General Principles, Soft Law and Subsidiary Sources Case Study: Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against Nicaragua
    Tuesday State Responsibility Subjects of International Law, Statehood and Legal Personality Jurisdiction and Immunity
    Thursday Territory and Seas The International Law of Human Rights; Diplomatic Protection Relationship between International Law and Australian Law
    Friday Introduction to the United Nations Organisation Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes Use of Force and the Security Council
    Specific Course Requirements
    Because of the interactive nature of classes in this course, students are required to attend at least 18 hours of classes, or to complete alternative work in lieu of attendance to the satisfaction of the Course Coordinator. Any student who does not meet this requirement will receive a Fail grade.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Not applicable.
  • 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 Item % of Final Mark Due Date Redeemable?
    Class Participation (Compulsory) 10% N/A No.
    Current Issues Analysis, 1,500 word limit (Optional) 25% Thursday, 1st of May, 8am Yes.
    Research Essay, 5,500 word limit*, from a list of approved topics (Compulsory) 65% or 90% Friday 23rd of May, 2pm N/A
    *Students who have completed the Current Issues Analysis and received a mark of at least 50% for that assessment may apply to the Course Coordinator for approval to submit a Research Essay of 4,000 words.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students should consult specific assessment instructions for each item of assessment on MyUni.
    Assessment Detail
    1. Participation (10%, Compulsory, NOT Redeemable)

    In order for our interactive class discussions to be as productive as possible, 10% of each student's final grade will relate to their participation in classes. Students will be assessed both of the quality and quantity of their contributions. Mere attendance without active participation will receive zero marks.

    2. Current Issues Analysis (25%, Optional, Redeemable)

    International law is an exciting field in which new challenges are always presented. Students are invited to prepare a legal analysis of current issues in international law raised in newspaper or internet article(s) on a public international law topic and originally published in the 12 months prior to the course commencing.

    3. Research Essay (65% or 90%, Compulsory)

    The primary assessment in this course will be a research essay, to be chosen from a list of approved topics (or on a topic approved by the Course Coordinator on application).
    Students will be expected to comply with the submission requirements stated in the assessment information that is provided on MyUni.
    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.

  • 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 Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • 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.