Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


4000 level

Course handbook


This course focuses on the relations between states, international organisations and other legal actors within the public international legal framework. It explores competing notions of sovereignty, and the dilemma of conflict resolution between parties under international law. Special attention will be paid to the recognition of states and the consequent obligations of states, the law of treaties, and topical issues in international law, for example criminal justice, refugees, the law of the sea, and human rights. Students will gain knowledge of the public international legal framework, and be exposed to a range of controversial debates which reflect the highly politicised nature of international law. A blended learning format will enable active learning and encourage student engagement with topical issues.

Availability2021 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2021

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. A thorough and contextual knowledge of public international law doctrine, principles and the role of legal institutions, in the areas covered during the course.

2. The capacity to identify contentious issues in public international law, and apply legal doctrine to solve problems.

3. A critical perspective on the relationship between public international law and the politics of the international community.

4. A reflective understanding of the significance of notions of justice, sovereignty and rights within the international legal framework.

5. The ability to conduct high-level legal research, exploring primary and secondary materials, and provide critical analysis of problems and questions.

6. The capacity to prepare and present cogent arguments, orally and in writing, and make productive contributions to class debate and discussion.


The topics in this course include the following:

  1. Nature of international law
  2. States and other international legal actors
  3. Acquisition of territory
  4. Sources of international law
  5. International and domestic law
  6. Treaties
  7. The law of the sea
  8. The use of force and the law of self-defence
  9. State responsibility
  10. Peaceful settlement of international disputes
  11. International criminal law
  12. International human rights law



This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS1010, LAWS1011, LAWS1020, LAWS1021, LAWS2030, LAWS3040, LAWS3041, and LAWS4001.

Assessment items

Presentation: In-Seminar Presentation

Quiz: Online quizzes

Written Assignment: Research assignment *

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Written Assignment: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Irrespective of a student's mark in the course, if a student has achieved overall marks greater than 50% in the course but has failed to satisfactorily complete the compulsory course component then a zero mark and fail grade (FF) will be recorded on their transcript

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Online Activity

Self-Directed 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Blended learning online learning module for one hour equivalent per week for the full term.


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.