Public International Law - LW814

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Autumn 7 20 (10) DR L Eslava checkmark-circle
(version 2)
Autumn 7 20 (10) DR P Sullo 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 the 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.

The teaching, discussions and readings in the module will equip students both with a doctrinal understanding of public international law, and with an approach to the field that is grounded in a Critical, Socio-Legal and Law and Humanities perspective.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

2 hours a week combined lecture/seminar excluding reading and writing weeks (18 weeks). The remaining 182 hours are dedicated to private study time. There are 200 study hours for the module.


Autumn Term

Method of assessment

100% coursework comprising of a 5,000 word essay (maximum).

Indicative reading

Core texts

J Klabbers, International Law (CUP, 2013)
J Crawford and M Koskenniemi (eds), Cambridge Companion to International Law (CUP, 2012)

General reading

A Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law (CUP, 2007)
L Eslava, Local Space, Global Life: The Everyday Operation of International Law and Development (CUP, 2015)
M Shaw, International Law, 7th ed (CUP, 2014)
S Marks, International Law on the Left (OUP, 2008)
A Orford, International Law and its Others (CUP, 2006)
A Orford, International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect (CUP, 2011)
S Pahuja, Decolonizing International Law (CUP, 2011)
B Rajagopal, International Law from Below: Development, Social Movements and Third World Resistance (CUP, 2003)
G Simpson, Great Powers and Outlaw States: Unequal Sovereigns in the International Legal Order (Cambridge, 2004)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes

To ensure that students taking the module are:
- aware of the significance of International Law within the field of International Relations
- familiar with the concepts, principles and rules of International Law
- familiar with current theoretical and doctrinal debates within International Law
- able to apply international legal methods to international legal problems
- familiar with the operations of the institutions of International Law, especially the United Nations and the International Court of Justice


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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