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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Essentials of Public International Law (LAWS10244)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course provides an introduction to the international legal order for those students who have not yet taken international law in their undergraduate degree. It covers the fundamental elements essential to an understanding of what international law is and how it works, including such topics as: sources, treaty law, international legal personality, state responsibility, jurisdiction and immunities, and dispute settlement. A knowledge of these fundamentals will be assumed in other Honours courses in international law subjects. Students should not do this course if they have taken International Law Ordinary.
Course description Week 1: Introduction
Week 2 Sources
Week 3: Treaties
Week 4: Statehood
Week 5: International legal personality
Week 6: Territory and self-determination
Week 7: Jurisdiction
Week 8: Immunities
Week 9: State responsibility
Week 10: International law in domestic courts
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking International Law Ordinary (semester 1) (LAWS08114)
Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. By the end of this course, students will understand, and be able to critically engage with, the fundamental international legal rules relating to: law-making and interpretation, legal sources and subjects, territory and self-determination, jurisdiction and immunity; dispute settlement; treaty law.
  2. In this course students will learn how to engage with complex areas of law and how to analyse complex arguments on the topic of the course.
  3. Critical Analytical skills; comprehension; prioritization of points in argumentation; writing skills, in particular summarizing information; articulation of opinion as well as justification of that opinion.
  4. An ability to engage in contemporary debates involving the subject-matter of the course. An ability to formulate opinions on complex materials as well as articulate their point of view.
  5. An ability to critically reflect on some of the most critical problems and tensions that define the international legal order and current global governance. Identification and application of international legal rules.
Reading List
The following materials are the core materials to be consulted for the existing course, and they will remain the same.

General Academic Books on International Law

The following are useful books to consult throughout the course:

- Michael N Shaw, International Law (8th ed, CUP 2017)
Shaw's textbook offers a very detailed analysis of the subject, with a very useful and updated review of the most important case and treaty law. For those students without a law background, this textbook will be particularly helpful, since it provides the basic structure of international law.

- Jan Klabbers, International Law (CUP, 2013)
Klabber's textbook offers a general overview of the main areas of international law. For students interested in questions of power and law, this textbook provides an insightful analysis of center-periphery relations in the evolution and operation of the international law and governance.

- James Crawford and Martti Koskenniemi (eds.), Cambridge Companion to International Law (CUP, 2012).
This is an edited collection that brings together influential legal experts writing on international law today. It offers a critical analysis of the main areas of international law.

General International Law Textbooks:

- A Cassese, International Law (OUP, 2001)
- D Harris & S Sivakumaran, Cases and Materials on International Law (8th ed Sweet & Maxwell, 2015)
- D. Anton, P. Mathew and W. Morgan, International Law: Cases and Materials (Oxford University Press, 2005)
- J Crawford, Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law (8th ed. OUP 2012)
- M Dixon, Textbook on International Law (OUP 7th ed 2013)
- R Jennings and A. Watts (eds), Oppenheim's International Law (9th ed, 1992)
- V Lowe, International Law (OUP 2007)

International Law Journals

The main journals on international law (primarily in English) are:
- African Journal of International and Comparative Law (AfJICL)
- American Journal of International Law (AJIL)
- Annuaire Francais de Droit International (AFDI)
- British Yearbook of International Law (BYIL)
- Canadian Yearbook of International Law (CYIL)
- Chinese Yearbook of International Law
- European Journal of International Law (EJIL)
- German Yearbook of International Law (GYIL)
- Hague Academy of International Law (Recueil des Cours)
- Indian Journal of International Law (IJIL)
- International and Comparative Law Quarterly (ICLQ)
- International and Comparative Law Quarterly (ICLQ)
- Leiden Journal of International Law
- London Review of International Law
- Revue Generale de Droit International Public (RGDIP)


United Nations and Special Agencies:
- United Nations:
- International Law Commission (ILC):

Judicial Organs and Arbitration Panels:
- International Court of Justice (ICJ):
- International Criminal Court:
- International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR):
- International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY):

The electronic LEARN pages will be used to highlight other useful resources.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordsinternational law,legal,jurisdiction,state responsibility,treaties,statehood
Course organiserProf Andrew Lang
Tel: (0131) 650 2921
Course secretaryMr Ryan McGuire
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386
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