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International Dispute Settlement


Admission requirements



The course will include a general overview of the methods for dispute settlement in public international law, including the nature of an international dispute, and the significance of peaceful settlement in the development of the law. The methods for reaching agreement for settlement will be surveyed, and the techniques of third-party settlement examined and compared. Considerable attention will be paid to the work of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and its contentious and advisory jurisdictions. International (investment) arbitration and specific dispute settlement mechanisms and other tribunals (ITLOS and the WTO) will be noticed, as will the issue of proliferation of international courts and tribunals. The course is linked to the research program ‘securing the rule of law in a world of multilevel jurisdiction.’

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
The course has the following objectives: The aim of this course is to provide an overview of legal methods for dispute settlement in public international law, focusing in particular on judicial settlement and arbitration

Achievement levels
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:
Knowledge: After successfully completing this course, the student has a thorough knowledge of and insight into the existing legal framework, the fundaments and the system of international dispute settlement. The student has a thorough knowledge of the specific rules and regulations that were studied during the course, of the working of international tribunals, particularly the International Court, and the nature and operation of international judicial jurisdiction, as well as the interrelationship between the various courts and bodies, and the issue of proliferation. Moreover, the student is well aware of the political and social context in which these rules are applied.

Academic skills and attitude: After successfully completing this course, the student is able to interpret and analyse the relevant literature and sources critically and to present solutions for legal problems after thorough legal research. The student is also trained to analyse a judgment of the Court with a view to drafting a paper in a clear and structured way. The student is able to critically appraise judgments on the basis of sound and convincing legal arguments having regard to other relevant developments.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 5

  • Names of lecturer: Prof. Dr. Hugh Thirlway

  • Required preparation by students: Readings as announced in the course schedule, available through Blackboard a few weeks before the start of the course


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 5

  • Names of lecturer: Dr. Eric De Brabandere

  • Required preparation by students: Students are expected to prepare well and participate actively. Prepared attendance of the seminars is mandatory.

Other methods of instruction

Assessment method

Examination form(s)
Students can gain a maximum of 100 points. These can be obtained through a written paper (25%), and a written exam (75%).

Submission procedures
All students must submit their paper before the Christmas break. The exact date will be announced in class and on Blackboard. Submitting the paper on time is mandatory. Late submission will result in a reduction of the grade of the case note of one point per day.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials
J. Merrills, International Dispute Settlement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011 – latest edition).

Course information guide:
included in the Reader International Dispute Settlement and available on Blackboard


  • Reader International Dispute Settlement

  • Additional documents made available via Blackboard

Recommended course materials


Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. Eric De Brabandere

  • Work address: Steenschuur 25

  • Contact information: Room B 1.26

  • Telephone number: +31 71 527 7399

  • E-mail:


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Division: Public International Law / Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies

  • Room number secretariat: B 1.21

  • Opening hours:

  • Telephone number secretariat: +31 71 527 7578

  • E-mail:




Belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), kunnen meer informatie vinden over kosten, inschrijving, voorwaarden, etc. op de website van Juridisch PAO.