LAWS 3063 Public International Law

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 200653

Coordinator Meda Couzens Opens in new window

Description This unit lays the foundation for an understanding of the international system of law, how it works and its relationship with domestic Australian law. It will challenge students to critically analyse the system and suggest ways in which the rules and principles can and should develop in the future in order to accommodate the changing needs and values of the international community of nations. It also represents the foundation for students to move on to the study of other International Law units offered by the School of Law.

School Law

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) LAWS 2008

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the fundamental norms of public international law, including the provisions of the subjected Nations Charter, Statute of the International Court of Justice, and Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, as well as significant customary international law principles and jurisprudence of relevant international Courts.
  2. Critically evaluate the principal institutions of the international legal system and explain their procedures at the international level and the principle 'sources' of law that they apply in resolving disputes.
  3. Describe the major differences between international and national law.
  4. Assess the major challenges/weaknesses/effectiveness to/of public international law.
  5. Apply principles of public international law to contemporary issues and in problem solving.
  6. Research develop, refine and produce written essays that demonstrate clear, well structured, appropriately referenced, critical analysis and arguments about salient points of international law.

Subject Content

- Welcome and introduction
- The nature and development of international Law
- The structure of The international legal system
- The sources of international Law
- The Law of Treaties
- international Law and Municipal Law
- personality, Statehood and Recognition
- title to territory
- state Jurisdiction
- Immunity from Jurisdiction
- state responsibility
- legal regulation of The use of Force by States
- specific areas of international Law (time permitting)
- Peaceful Settlement of international disputes (time permitting)


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Oral Presentation 15 minute presentation 25 N Group
Written Assessment (Annotated Bibliography and Reflective Essay) 1500 word Annotated Bibliography, 500 Word Reflective essay 30 N Individual
Take Home Exam 3000 words 45 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • [Note: The United Nations Charter and the Statute of the ICJ are contained in Harris. Students must have these two instruments with them for all seminars.]
  • Harris, David John and Sandesh Sivakumran, Cases and Materials on International Law (Sweet & Maxwell, 8th ed, 2015).
  • Malcolm N Shaw, International Law (Cambridge University Press, 7th ed, 2014).

Teaching Periods

2022 Semester 2

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Meda Couzens Opens in new window

Attendance Requirements 80% attendance rate is imposed in all core subjects’ due to the nature of class activities that are aligned with subject assessments.

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