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Public International Law


Information for the LL.M. PIL 2016-2017 students:

Introduction meeting on 4 September at 11:00 hrs

The introduction meeting of the LL.M. PIL programme 2017-2018 will take place on Monday, 4 September in at the Leiden Law School, KOG building (room to be announced), Steenschuur 25 in Leiden. The meeting is held from 11:00 to 13:00 hrs and attendance is obligatory. During this session, you will receive detailed information about the structure of the LL.M. programme PIL and the contents of the courses.
Please make sure to enrol to the Blackboard environment of the LLM Reg PIL programme 2016-2017 where you will find all the information regarding the start of the programme. If you have any questions, please contact the secretariat at

Please make sure to register for the PIL colloquia via uSIS.

Admission requirements

Admission to the Masters programme.


In this course the core concepts of public international law will be discussed in considerable depth. The course will cover the traditional curriculum of public international law, including subjects, sources, responsibility and the use of force as well as various of the sub-areas of international law including human rights law, environmental law, the law of the sea, international refugee law and international humanitarian law. The course will build on the introductions to public international law as offered in most BA-programmes in law. It will be presupposed that all students have such a basic knowledge. It will particularly focus on recent state practice and judicial decisions.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
The main purpose of the course is to provide students with a thorough knowledge of public international law as a necessary basis for further study and career in this field. In addition, research and writing skills are trained through written assignments.

Achievement levels
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:
After successfully completing this course, students have a thorough knowledge of and insight into the existing legal framework, the fundaments and the system of public international law. The students have a profound knowledge of the specific rules and regulations that were studied during the course and of the interrelationship between those rules. They understand how international law can operate as a system. Moreover, the students are well aware of the political and social context in which these rules are applied.

Academic skills and attitude:
After successfully completing this course, students are able to interpret and analyse the relevant literature and sources critically and to present solutions for legal problems after thorough legal research. Students are also trained to present these solutions both orally and in writing in a structured way. Students are able to present their own opinion on relevant legal matters on the basis of sound and convincing legal arguments and to defend this opinion in a legal debate.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10 (1 per week)

  • Names of lecturers: Dr. R.W. Heinsch and other instructors

  • Required preparation by students: Reading of materials as prescribed in the outline that can be found on Blackboard as well


  • Number (2 hour): 10 (1 per week)

  • Names of instructors: Dr. R.W. Heinsch and other instructors.

  • Required preparation by students: Reading the materials, preparing answers to the questions and issues raised on Blackboard and preparation of assignments.

Other methods of instruction

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Exam (60%)

  • One written assignment (40%) - this has the status of a so called practical assignment

  • Only the written exam can be retaken when the overall grade is a non-passing grade.

Regulation retake passed exams
In this course it is possible to retake an exam that has been passed (cf. art. and further of the Course and Examination Regulations), on the condition that this course is included in the compulsory components of the degree programme. Students who have passed the exam may retake the final written assessment (test) of the course. Please contact the Student Administration Office (OIC) for more information.

Submission procedures
The written assignments will be handed in at the start of the respective seminars to which they relate. Students will have to hand them in both electronically and in hard copy.

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 on Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • Malcolm Evans, International Law, 4th Edition, OUP, 2014

  • Blackstone’s, International Law Documents, 12th ed., OUP, 2015.

Course information guide:
Outline as posted on Blackboard

No reader

Recommended course materials
To be announced on Blackboard


  • It is not necessary to register in uSis for this course, but you need to register for the colloquia of this course.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. R.W. Heinsch

  • Work address: KOG, Office B1.26

  • Contact information: via e-mail

  • Telephone number: 071-527 7578 (secretary)

  • E-mail:


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Division: Public International Law

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, Office B1.21

  • Opening hours: 9.00 – 17.00 hrs

  • Telephone number secretariat: 071-5277578

  • E-mail: