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Fall 2020 Course

Public International Law

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: Please refer to the Fall 2020 Tentative Exam Schedule

This is an introductory course on Public International Law, which is the field of law that governs relations between sovereign states and, to varying degrees, between a diverse set of actors, including individuals, civil society, corporations, international organizations, and NGOs. Having a background in international law and understanding its foundational rules is essential for all law students, whether those interested in international affairs or those planning to pursue careers in any area of domestic law practice. In a world where virtually every area of life and human interaction is globalized, grasping the ground rules that regulate transnational relations is indispensable for us both as lawyers and individuals. In fact, international law is a vital instrument of global governance and is essential to addressing a wide range of global policy issues and challenges such as maintaining international peace and security, combating terrorism, protecting human rights and human health, preserving the environment, promoting world trade, and managing the global commons.

This course is divided into three parts.

Part One focuses on the sources of international law. It introduces students to the international lawmaking process and identifies the principal lawmakers in the international legal system. Special attention will be given to the law of treaties and the processes of the formation and evolution of customary international law.

Part Two deals with the subjects of international law. These are the actors governed by international law. This part will principally focus on sovereign states, which are the primary actors in the international legal system, by examining the elements of statehood and the rules governing international territorial disputes.

Part Three introduces students to specific subject-areas of international law. These areas are: the use of armed force by states, international humanitarian law, human rights law, international criminal law, the law of the sea and the rules of maritime delimitation. Because each of these areas is large enough to warrant an entire semester-long course, discussion of these topics in this class will be limited to introductory concepts that provide students with a basic understanding of these fields.

International Law, 2nd ed. (paperback)
author: Jan Klabbers
Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781316506608