LAW 7170 - Public International Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

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, in particular centring on treaty; interpretation, negotiation and compliance. Customary international law and general principles of law and soft law will also be covered. 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. Further topics will include fact finding, the particular case of international law and Armed Drones, and peace through international law.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7170
    Course Public International Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Students without a Bachelor of Laws must have completed LAW 7177
    Incompatible LAW 2520 and LAW 1508
    Assessment Group Presentation - 10%, Current Issues Analysis 1 - 25%, 500 words (Optional, Redeemable); Research Essay maximum 5 - 500words chosen from a list of approved topics
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Rebecca LaForgia

    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 Develop a knowledge of 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 a knowledge of several key areas of ‘public international law’ including the law surrounding the use of force and human rights and treaty interpretation.
    4 Develop a knowledge of 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 the independent and self directed analysis on issues of international law
    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
    core readings will be available via my uni under each  teaching module.
    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, lecture materials  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
    The topics will be combined lectures and guided seminars. There will be lecture materials delivered and seminars devoted to an interactive discussion, exploration of lecture topics and also introducing and covering new topics.  There will be a detailed outline available on my uni to guide each day of teaching. If there are any changes to arrangements this will be notified.

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

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that you are expected to commit approximately 10 hours of private study in addition to your regular classes.
    Learning Activities Summary
     Public International Law - Topic Outline
    10.00-12.00pm 1.00-3.00pm 3.00-5.00pm
    Wednesday Lecture /seminar- Introduction to the Course, including assessment overview.
    Nature and Development of International Law;  Contemporary current debates surrounding International Law. The future of Multilateralism,
    Lecture/seminar-International Human Rights Class Two;  Lecture/seminar Right to Sanitation.
    Thursday Lecture/seminar - The Public International Law governing the use of  Force and IHL and IHRL (Including the background lecture on the United Nations, Non-Use of Force, Self Defence, and Collective Security) Class Seminar: The International law governing the use of Armed Drones. Seminar; Supervised seminars and group preparation for presentation.
    Monday Compulsory Group Presentation  assessment Class lecture/ Seminar: Business and International Human Rights.

    Class Seminar; Supervised exercises on enaging with the readings for assessment.
    Wednesday Lecture overview of Multilateralism and International Law - in relation to topics covered. Class Seminar; Multilaterialism and international law in the Context of reform and change. Class Seminar; Overview and revision and discussion of research skills and expectations for the assessment and  essays.
  • 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 Individual/Group Due Date Redeemable Course Learning Outcome
    Class Presentation (Compulsory) 10% Group Monday the 16th of August  Details on Myuni. No 1-4
    Current Issues Analysis, 1500 word limit . 25% Indvidual Wednesday the 25th of August 2.00pm. Details Myuni Yes
    Research Essay, 4,500 word limit*, from the set topics (Compulsory) 65% or 90%
    Thursday the 30th  of September 2.00pm No
    Assessment Detail
    1. Group Presentation  (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 be based on their group presentation, the topic of which will be a synthesis of course material covered to that point in the course. 

    2. Current Issues Analysis (25%, Redeemable)

    International law is an exciting field in which new challenges are always presented, the current issue analysis will be a set question drawn from a contemporary issue in international law. ( redeemable on basis of bona fide effort as assessed by course coordinator).

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

    The primary assessment in this course will be a research essay which will be a set choice of topics.
    Standard Adelaide Law School submission requirements apply. Specific information will be provided in the assessment instructions for each item of assessment.

    Late Submission Penalties

    When an assessment is submitted after the due date, without an extension, 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 and public holidays. 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.

    Word Length Penalties

    5% of the total mark possible for a written assessment will be deducted for every 100 words (or part thereof) by which it exceeds a stipulated word limit. For example, a 3,000 word essay graded at 63% will have 5% deducted if it is between 3,001 and 3,100 words long for a final mark of 58%. If the essay is between 3,101 and 3,200 words long, 10% will be deducted for a final mark of 53%, etc. Word limits include all words in the text, in headings, in quotations, but exclude citations in footnotes. Any separate cover page, table of contents, bibliography or list of sources is excluded from the word limit. If the word limit is misstated, this may be regarded as academic dishonesty.
    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.

    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.