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Foreign Relations Law




Admissions requirements

Required: Constitutions and Constitutionalism
Recommended: Legal Methods Lab


Who has the power to declare war? Who decides which countries receive development aid? Which ones get sanctions; which ones arms? Who represents us at the UN? How many members of parliament are needed to ratify a new treaty; how many to block it?

These are all legal questions—with an undoubtedly politically sensitive dimension—that are answered by a body of law called Foreign Relations Law. The latter is the set legal norms that regulate a polity’s relations and interactions with the outside world. It is closely related to, but distinct from, international law. In some cases, these rules may even require non-compliance with international obligations. Foreign relations law includes matters such as external representation, treaty-making powers, war powers, immunities, trade sanctions, joining or leaving international organizations, as well as the role of the different branches of government regarding each of these issues.
Every country has its own foreign relations law, but also supranational and international organizations have rules on their relations with the rest of the world, albeit their ability to act independently from their respective member states varies. The course explores a select number of salient substantive issues of Foreign Relations Law using examples from different jurisdictions and utilizing both primary and secondary sources.

Course objectives

After successful completion of the course, students are able to:

  • Explain the main issues, features, concepts, and legal principles of foreign relations law;

  • Describe the relationship and differences between international law and a polity’s foreign relations law;

  • Compare different national frameworks of foreign relations law as well as those of supranational and international organizations;

  • Interpret and analyse legal texts and judgments (primary sources) in the field of foreign relations law, using scholarly literature where appropriate (secondary sources);

  • Apply legal research, writing, argumentation, and presentation skills in the framework of a case problem.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course uses a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, student presentations, class discussion, debate, as well as an interactive, student-led moot court. Teaching materials include primary sources (legal texts and judgments), secondary readings, and a moot court case (compromise).


  • General participation (10%)

  • Discussion leader (10%)

  • Oral presentation (15%)

  • Final essay, due in week 8 (30%)

  • Moot court (35%) (5% for preliminary analysis; 15% for written pleadings/judgment; 15% for oral pleadings/rendition of judgment)


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

General recommended readings and research resources:

  • Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith, Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials, 5th edn (Wolters Kluwer, 2014)

  • Marise Cremona, Joris Larik, Rena Lee, David Kleimann and Pascal Vennesson, ASEAN’s External Agreements: Law, Practice and the Quest for Collective Action (CUP, 2015)

  • Panos Koutrakos, EU International Relations Law, 2nd edn (Hart, 2015)

  • Campbell McLachlan, Foreign Relations Law (OUP, 2016)

  • Henry Schermers and Niels Blokker, International Institutional Law, 5th edn (Martinus Nijhoff, 2015)

  • Bart van Vooren and Ramses Wessel, EU External Relations Law: Text, Cases and Materials (CUP, 2014)


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


Dr. Joris Larik
Assistant Professor for Comparative, EU and International Law
LUC Den Haag (AVB 301)
Anna van Buerenplein 301
2595 DG Den Haag
Room number 4.22


This course may prove particularly relevant to students who aspire to a career in the diplomatic service, legal practice, government, parliament, as well as in supranational and international organizations.