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Principles of Public International Law


Admissions requirements



This course is an introduction to the field of public international law. The course covers major topics in this field, including sources of international law (treaties and customary international law); subjects (States and international organizations); the law of State responsibility; the prohibition on the use of force; and international dispute settlement. The course emphasizes learning how to read and understand primary sources, such as treaties and judgments of the International Court of Justice.

Week 1
Lecture 1: Introduction
Lecture 2: Introduction
Week 2
Lecture 1: Sources of International Law
Lecture 2: Sources of International Law
Week 3
Lecture 1: Subjects of International Law
Lecture 2: Subjects of International Law
Week 4
Lecture 1: State Responsibility
Lecture 2: State Responsibility
Week 5
Lecture 1: Prohibition on the Use of Force
Lecture 2: Jurisdiction
Week 6
Lecture 1: Immunities
Lecture 2: Immunities
Week 7
Lecture 1: International Dispute Settlement
Lecture 2: Human Rights
Week 8

Course objectives

After successful completion of this introductory course, students will have a basic understanding of major topics in the field of public international law. They will be able to identify the international legal implications of current world events as reported in the media. Students will be able to explain and discuss the sources of international law and the facts and legal reasoning of judgments. Students will also be able to apply and interpret treaty provisions and other legal rules. Students will, in particular, develop the ability to apply legal rules to a given set of facts. This course aims to prepare students for further studies within the Global Justice major.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Classes will consist of both lectures and presentations on and discussions of assigned judgments. Students are required to have read the relevant section of the textbooks (see ‘Literature’ section below), the assigned excerpts from judgments, and any other additional reading.


Assessment: In-class participation
Learning aim: Interactive engagement with course materials
Percentage: 10%
Deadline: Ongoing Weeks 1-7

Assessment: Take-home essay/casenote
Learning aim: Developing legal writing skills
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Week 6

Assessment: Presentation
Learning aim: Describing facts and explaining legal reasoning
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Weeks 2-6

Assessment: Final examination
Learning aim: Comprehensive understanding of the course
Percentage: 40%
Deadline: Week 8


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Martin Dixon, Textbook on International Law (OUP 2013); T.M.C. Asser Institute (ed), Elementary International Law (T.M.C. Asser Institute (most recent edition)).


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact