Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


In the first module of this course students will obtain knowledge of the central concepts, principles, institutions and rules of public international law at an advanced level. In the second module students will undertake a specialist study in secessionist self-determination, the primary means by which new states are created in the modern era. Students will critically evaluate a number of key secessionist case studies in the international system. The central concepts of sovereignty and self-determination in international law will be critically examined in both modules of the course.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2014.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate advanced and integrated understanding of the key concepts, principles, institutions and rules of the public international law system.

2. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the interaction between the international law system and domestic legal systems.

3. Explain the ways in which self-determination and secession movements shape the relations between existing and emerging states and change the constitution of the international legal order.

4. Apply knowledge of important secessionist self-determination claims within the international system to provide specialised legal advice in relation to such claims.

5. Use high level oral and written communication skills to debate key concepts and craft persuasive arguments.

6. Demonstrate high level primary and secondary legal research skills in producing a research essay.


Topics in this course include the following:

Module 1

  1. Nature and scope of public international law
  2. Institutions and actors in the international law system.
  3. Sources of law
  4. International legal personality
  5. International law and domestic law.
  6. Statehood and sovereignty

Module 2

  1. Self-determination
  2. Acquisition of territory " historical
  3. Acquisition of territory/sovereignty " secession
  4. Secession and the use of force
  5. Case studies on state secession


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice or Master of Laws programs.

Assumed knowledge

For Master of Laws Students: Nil For Juris Doctor/Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice Students LAWS 6013 Public International Law

Assessment items

Participation: Class Participation

Essay: Research Essay

Formal Examination: Examination: Formal