Public International Law - LAWS8140

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Andreas Kotsakis checkmark-circle


This module provides a detailed study of the history, rules, doctrines and institutions of public international law. It offers a critical analysis of the international legal order and a firm basis upon which to found arguments concerning the political importance of international law. The module pays special attention to the way in which the evolution and operation of the international legal order influence not only international relations, but also daily domestic life.
At the end of the course students will be able to assess, both internally and in context, the main rules, doctrines and institutions of public international law. Students will also develop the necessary tools to reflect critically on some of the most important problems and tensions that define the contemporary global order: from calamities resulting from war, international interventions and surveillance strategies in countries like Afghanistan, Libya and Pakistan, to the everyday effects of increasing socio-economic disparities and environmental decay in both the Global South and the Global North.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 180
Total study hours: 200


None, although all students will need either some experience of Public International Law or be willing to do early and intensive reading.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay - 5000 words: 100%

Reassessment methods

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Cassese, Antonio, International Law (2nd ed. OUP, 2005)
Evans, Malcolm, International Law (4th edn, OUP, 2014)
Klabbers, Jan, International Law (CUP, 2013).
Malanczuk, Peter and Akehurst's, Michael, Modern Introduction to International Law (7th ed, Routledge, 1997).
Shaw, Malcom, International Law (7th ed. CUP, 2014).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate a critical awareness of the significance of International Law within the field of International Relations
8.2 Demonstrate a sophisticated knowledge and understanding of the concepts, principles and rules of International Law
8.3 Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the current theoretical and doctrinal debates within International Law
8.4 Critically apply international legal methods to international legal problems
8.5 Demonstrate an intricate familiarity with the operations of the institutions of International Law, especially the United Nations and the
International Court of Justice

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Present and apply relevant knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned and supported argument;
9.2 Carry out thorough and independent research analysing various points of view and using wide sources;
9.3 Express themselves to a high standard in a coherent form;
9.4 Undertake appropriate further training or research in the field.


Stage 1


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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