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Foundations of Justice


Admission requirements

100-level courses in Global Justice, World Politics, and International Development give access to this course, which in turn gives access to 300-level courses in Global Justice, World Politics, and International Development.


The course will explore the foundations of (global) justice, primarily from a legal perspective. Hence, the course will offer a critical inquiry into the role of law with regard to issues of global injustice (e.g., political oppression, radical inequality, extreme poverty, historic injustice, environmental degradation) and this in a context of economic globalization, forced migration and (anthropogenic) climate change.

The course will build on your insight and understanding of justice issues (e.g., retributive justice, distributive justice) which you gained in previous courses (e.g., Global Challenges Justice, Introduction to Political Philosophy, Introduction to Public International Law). Thus the course will benefit from your existing experience and expertise.

Course objectives

When you have finished this course you should be able to

  • Analyse and articulate manifestations of injustice, their nature and their legal/non-legal implications as well as the interrelationship between the local and the global levels;

  • Contextualise and situate legal aspects and questions of (in)justice in their historic (e.g., colonialism), socio-economic (e.g., globalization), and political (e.g., hegemony) context;

  • Critically reflect and comment on the authority of law in relation to justice, in particular as regards concepts such as the rule of law, accountability, legality, legitimacy, etc.;

  • Identify and contrast different (legal) pathways (fora, remedies) to justice, including dialogue, development cooperation, courts, military force, market mechanisms and global institutions;

  • Conduct research that can inform critical (legal) interventions that address injustice with the aim to bring about social change – by reducing and/or remedying injustice – and thus contribute to fairer societies and a more just global order.


Please see the LUC website:

Mode of instruction

Two weekly interactive seminars will provide you with the space for thoughtful participation in class discussions, peer reviews and panel presentations, based on the careful analysis of required readings. Teaching methods further include group work and web-postings to support in-class debate. If possible, a field trip will also be on the agenda.

Assessment method

  1. Individual engagement with course readings: assessed through Weekly web-postings
    (250-300 words:20% of final grade): Weeks 1 – 7, due on days before class at 23:59
  2. Interactive engagement with course material, including peer-reviews and collaboration in group work: assessed through in-class participation (20% of final grade) :Weeks 1 – 7: Ongoing
  3. Understanding and critical appreciation of course content, reflecting clarity and precision of argument : assessed in Individual essay (1,500 words) and presentation of this essay in one of 6 panels (20% of final grade) :Individual essay due Week 4, Friday at 17:00; Panel presentations: Week 7
  4. Ability to conduct research and develop analytical argument by applying critical understanding of course content: assessed in sequenced research essay (proposal, draft, final essay) (2,500-3,000 words:40% of final grade) :Proposal and draft: TBA; Final essay: due Week 8, Friday at 17:00


This course is supported by a BlackBoard site

Reading list

to be announced


This course is only open for LUC The Hague students.

Contact information

dr. Thomas Bundschuh:

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Revisiting Justice

1.1 Mapping Injustice: Faces of injustice, concepts of justice

1.2 Mapping Justice: International courts and institutions in The Hague

Week 2: Evaluating (In)justice

2.1 The International Legal/Economic Order: Impact on the poor

2.2 World Poverty and Inequality

Week 3: Courting Justice

3.1 International Criminal Justice

3.2 Social Justice Litigation

Week 4: Sustaining Justice

4.1 Developing Justice: Legal empowerment and access to justice

4.2 Environmental Justice/Climate Justice (Intergenerational Justice)

Week 5: Recovering Justice (Historic Injustice)

5.1 Transitional Justice and Social Repair

5.2 Apologies, forgiveness and reconciliation

Week 6: Measuring (In)justice

6.1 Income, GDP, GINI

6.2 Basic needs, capabilities and human rights

Week 7: Globalizing Justice

7.1 Duty to protect: Humanitarian Intervention

7.2 Duty to assist/cooperate: Development assistance/finance

Week 8: [Reading Week. No classes

Preparation for first session

Follow current affairs and identify 5 instances of injustice. Justify your choice and provide the criteria for your judgement, i.e., for qualifying your selected instances as injustice.

Consult Blackboard for any additional information if any.