Introduction to Public International Law

The details
Law (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
02 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This is an introductory module in public international law. It builds on the traditional theories and concepts of public international law, but also addresses new institutions and other structural and theoretical developments.

The first part of the module will examine the sources of international law and the major theoretical and legal underpinnings of international law and its institutions.

Other aspects of international law examined will include the notion of jurisdiction, statehood (including its acquisition and the notion of recognition in international law), the concept of self-determination, immunities of state officials and diplomatic staff, and state responsibility.

Module aims

The aims of the module are

-To make students think about the sources of public international law in customary international law (its common law), treaty law (its statutes), and judicial decisions

-To analyse the structure of public international law, as well as its principles, theories and concepts, and recent developments in the law

-To develop the critical reasoning, analytical writing and oral argumentation skills appropriate to this sui generis system of law

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to

-Discuss and critically analyse the system of public international law

-Critically discuss the nature of the sources of international law

-Explain, apply and evaluate the rules governing state responsibility, acquisition of statehood, jurisdiction and immunities

-Apply the relevant principles and rules of public international law to specific cases

-Improve communication skills through class discussion, research skills and written skills of precise legal application

Module information

Week by week module syllabus

1. Introduction to the UN and international law system

2. Sources of international law including treaty law

3. Sources of international law including treaty law

4. Sources of international law including treaty law

5. Statehood (inc Territorial acquisition, recognition and self-determination)

6. Statehood (inc Territorial acquisition, recognition and self-determination)

7. State Responsibility

8. State Responsibility

9. State and diplomatic immunity (inc jurisdiction)

10. State and diplomatic immunity (inc jurisdiction)

Learning and teaching methods

Three hours of lectures every week


  • Dixon, Martin; McCorquodale, Robert; Williams, Sarah. (2016) Cases & materials on International law, Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  • Shaw, Malcolm N. (2017) International law, New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Martti Koskenniemi. (2014) 'What is International Law For?', in International law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., pp.32-57
  • Klabbers, Jan. (2017) International law, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • (2019) Blackstone's international law documents, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Formative Assignment Introduction to Public International Law 06/11/2019
Coursework Summative Assignment 17/01/2020

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Tuba Turan, Professor Lars Waldorf
Law General Office, 01206 872529, lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Christopher Lloyd
Oxford Brookes University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 30 hours, 30 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Law (School of)

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