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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Diplomatic Law (LAWS11319)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course deals with one of the oldest branches of international law: the law relating to representatives of States (which in the more recent past was expanded to cover representatives of international organisations and of sub-national entities as well). The course will deal with privileges and immunities, but also with questions relating to duties and functions. It will address the law as it applies to permanent diplomats and ad hoc diplomats, but also consular agents.
Course description The course will be taught through seminars, which include introductions to key topics of relevance to diplomatic and consular law and general discussion, including on particular case studies. The seminars will thus cover aspects such as the sources of diplomatic law, property immunities and personal immunities, diplomatic asylum and the diplomatic bag, but also an overview of aspects of consular law.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) This course will be assessed by the following component(s):

An essay of no more than 6,000 words, whose title is to be chosen from a list of topics which will be given to the students. The weight of this assessment is 100% of the total mark for this course.
Feedback Each course will provide the opportunity for at least one piece of formative assessment with associated feedback. This will be provided within an appropriate timescale to enable students to learn from this prior to the summative assessment.

Each seminar contains a segment which is allocated to general discussion with the class. Specific questions are provided to students ahead of the seminars, relating to the topical issues which will have been discussed in the individual sessions. Students will be asked to prepare for these questions, and feedback will be provided throughout the general discussion.
Apart from that, a piece of formative assessment will allow students to obtain further feedback and prepare them for the summative assessments. The formative assessment takes the form of a practice essay.

The formative essay consists of a practice essay. The essay question is set by the course organiser; it will be put on the couse website by the fourth seminar of the course. Feedback will be provided in the sixth seminar.

Feedback on the formative assessment may be provided in various formats, for example, to include written, oral, video, face-to-face, whole class, or individual. The course organiser will decide which format is most appropriate in relation to the nature of the assessment.

Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.

Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Accurately assess and critically comment upon the concept and elements of diplomatic law and consular law and their interplay with other norms of international law, e.g Human Rights.
  2. Identify and critically appraise the role played by consuls and diplomats in international affairs.
  3. Critically evaluate the main theories relating to consular and diplomatic immunity
  4. Demonstrate an appropriate level of research skills in locating and evaluating instruments on diplomatic and consular law, academic opinion and sources on the factual background of these areas.
  5. Solve problems utilising the knowledge gained from the various seminars and work effectively as part of a group towards this end.
Reading List
There is no single text which covers the whole breadth of the course. However, reference will frequently be made to the following key texts:

Paul Behrens (ed), Diplomatic Law in a New Millennium (Oxford University Press 2017)

Eileen Denza, Diplomatic Law: Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 4th ed (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Lee / Quigley, Consular Law and Practice, Oxford 2008

Roberts, Ivor, Satow's Diplomatic Practice, 6th ed (Oxford 2018)

As new editions of these texts become available, requests will be made to the library to acquire these.

Additional reading lists will be published for the individual seminars. They will mainly contain articles which are available on Westlaw International or Hein Online, to which Edinburgh University has access.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will develop students' abilities in handling the relevant sources and materials of diplomatic and consular law. Students should acquire evaluative skills which will be developed through practice of analysing academic opinion and materials in these fields and assessing their value, and participating in group seminar discussion. Students will also be able to acquire problem-solving techniques on issues in the areas studied.

Oral communication is developed in particular through the use of presentations delivered by students as part of their assessments, research skills are developed through the research paper and through work for each seminar.
Special Arrangements n/a
Study Abroad n/a
Additional Class Delivery Information Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
KeywordsDiplomacy,International Law,Consuls,Diplomats,Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,Vienna
Course organiserDr Paul Behrens
Course secretaryMs Susanna Wickes
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