International Law: Principles and Sources - LAWS6420

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Rose Parfitt checkmark-circle


The module will examine the role and function of international law in regulating relations between States and resolving international disputes. It will introduce students to a number of theoretical frameworks through which to understand and critically evaluate international law historically and in context. It will provide students with knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of international law and of its key concepts, principles and rules. The module will enable students to consider the relevance, or otherwise, of international law to contemporary international problems and to critically assess its limitations and effects. This will be achieved through a range of topics and case studies.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 130
Total study hours: 150


All Social Sciences undergraduate Law programmes.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

The assessment is 100% coursework:

MCT (10%)
MCT (10%)
Essay of 2,500 words (80%)*.

* Students must achieve a mark of at least 40% in the essay to pass the module overall.

Reassessment methods
Reassessment instrument (i.e. 100% coursework).

Indicative reading

• Evans, Blackstone's International Law Documents (OUP 2013)
• Klabbers, International Law (CUP, 2013)
• Mansell & Openshaw, International Law A Critical Introduction (Hart, 2013)
• Shaw, International Law (Cambridge, 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:

1. demonstrate detailed understanding of the origins, development and current debates on the nature of international law;
2. demonstrate in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding of the international law frameworks and institutions;
3. demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the concepts, principles and rules of international law;
4. critically analyse the relevance or otherwise of international law to particular disputes;
5. demonstrate a critical awareness of historical and contemporary theoretical, legal and political problems in international law;
6. critically evaluate the relationship between international law and social, political and economic contexts.

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

1. undertake effective independent research, including the ability to retrieve up-to-date information using electronic sources;
2. demonstrate key transferrable skills in devising and sustaining a complex argument;
3. use relevant and appropriate terminology with care, accuracy and confidence;
4. engage in practical application of knowledge through consideration and analysis of opinions/decisions;
5. critically assess law within theoretical, historical, political, social and economic contexts.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  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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