Public International Law LLM

 
  

Fact file

Qualification
LLM Public International Law
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (or international equivalent) in law, humanities or social sciences
Other requirements
IELTS
7.0 (with no less than 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading and 6.0 in speaking and listening)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
September
Campus
University Park
School/department
Law
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.
 

Overview

Providing you with a general public international law qualification, this course can be tailored towards a particular specialist interest such as environmental protection, international trade or human rights.
Read full overview

You will develop a solid grounding in the techniques of arguing and interpreting international law, and expertise in how these elements are put to the test in very different contexts, from protecting the environment, to regulating world trade and humanitarian protection. With over 25 qualifying options, you can choose to specialise in various areas of public international law.

The wide range of modules is delivered by an impressive and diverse array of talented academics. Members of the public international law team at Nottingham have published prize-winning works. Many also actively participate in policymaking and implementation of human rights norms at state and international levels.

We host a regular series of seminars through the International Law Association, which are delivered by distinguished visitors from across the world. Recent seminars have covered developments in refugee law, international environmental law and counter-terrorism.

Academic English preparation and support

Accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK, the University's Centre for English Language Education provides high-quality preparation and support.

Our presessional courses take your English language and academic skills to the level you need to progress to postgraduate study without taking IELTS again. A specialist 10-week law course is also available. 

Key facts

  • Consistently ranked among the world's top law schools, placing in the worldwide top 100 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
  • 81% of our research considered world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest Research Excellence Framework
  • 96.6% of law postgraduates in work or further study within six months of graduation
  • Dedicated resources including legal skills advice through workshops and one-to-one sessions, computer room, and law reading room in the Hallward Library
  • Links to leading firms in London and the regions, private industry and consultancies, and governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations across the UK and wider world
 

Course details

You will complete a minimum of 90 credits of specialist optional modules. The remaining 30 credits can be chosen from the full selection of optional modules available on the LLM programme. You will also undertake a 60-credit dissertation.

Guidance and support on choosing a public international law dissertation topic and designing your project will be provided through bespoke workshops and one-to-one support.

Teaching

We teach in small-group seminars where possible, allowing for an integrated, interactive learning experience. You are encouraged and expected to prepare for, and participate in, seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from them.

Assessment

You will be assessed by examination or essay, or a combination of both. All assessments take place at the end of the spring term.

Practice assignments, guidance on exam techniques, time management workshops, and one-to-one legal skills advice sessions are offered throughout the academic year to prepare you for these assessments.

 
 

Modules

Qualifying module options

An Uncensored History of International Law

This module consists of an examination of the major theoretical approaches to public international law and aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the diverse theoretical approaches to public international law and to discern the influence of these approaches on the practical development of public international law.

 
Biodiversity and International Law

This module examines the mechanisms by which international law seeks to protect and conserve biological diversity in terms of species and ecosystems, as well as genetic diversity within species.

 
Business and Human Rights

This module considers how business increasingly conducts its operations with responsibility to its stakeholders and to society at large. It examines the emergence of the business and human rights regime, which forms the basis for addressing both legal developments and voluntary initiatives across a spectrum of business and industry sectors and different types of firms operating both globally and locally.

The module content is diverse and wide-ranging, and draws on case studies in order to foster knowledge about the impacts of business on human rights protection. It considers key issues in the current business and human rights regime, including states' obligation to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, human rights due diligence and access to remedy for human rights violations by corporations and other business entities.

 
Critical Issues in International Criminal Justice

This module builds upon the more conceptual and theoretical inquiries undertaken in Foundations of Criminal Justice by identifying emergent principles in the rapidly developing corpus of international criminal jurisprudence.

Consideration of the contribution of municipal legal systems to the pursuit of criminal justice in the international arena serves as a general introduction to the detailed doctrinal analysis of elements of crimes and defences, rules of evidence and procedure, and sentencing principles which comprises the bulk of the option.

Once identified and elaborated, rules and principles of international criminal law and procedure will be subjected to critical scrutiny, by drawing upon national and comparative legal perspectives, as well as general principles of international humanitarian law and the international law of human rights.

 
Detention and Imprisonment in the International Criminal Justice System

From the history of detention and imprisonment at the post-World War II International Military Tribunals, the course will progress to look at the penal regimes of the contemporary international criminal courts and tribunals, including the ICTY, ICTR, MICT, SCSL and ICC. 

You will learn about the systems for and conditions in international remand detention and analyse the complaints and disciplinary procedures and oversight mechanisms operating within these international facilities.

Seminars will be devoted to discussions about the various penalties international criminal courts can impose, and the reasons international judges give for their imposition. You will also learn about life for international prisoners post-conviction, through an exploration of the various systems used to enforce international sentences of imprisonment.

Seminars will look at the degree of control international courts retain over these sentences and their responsibility for international prisoners while they are housed in national prisons. This module will also look at the remedies that should be and are available for international prisoners whose human rights have been violated, and address the question of whether it is necessary, feasible or desirable to create an international prison system.

 
Economic and Social Rights

This module will open with a consideration of the historical origins and philosophical underpinnings of economic and social rights (ESR). Key themes that will be developed throughout the course include perceptions of the nature of such rights and the related question of the extent to which such rights are, and should be, justiciable. You will evaluate the different ways in which ESR are protected and implemented, both domestically and internationally (eg by considering international and regional ESR frameworks, the role of NHRI, tribunals and other mechanisms by which ESR are given effect to).

The module will consider litigation and judicial enforcement of ESR in jurisdictions such as South Africa, Argentina, Colombia, India, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, the UK and the United States, as appropriate. Specific substantive ESR will be addressed in dedicated module sessions (for instance, the rights to adequate housing and health). Ultimately, the module will equip you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to engage in, and critically analyse, the debates surrounding ESR that exist both amongst legal commentators and at a broader societal level.

 
The European Convention on Human Rights

The module covers articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), together with the procedural provisions of the ECHR.

 
General Themes and Principles of International Environmental Law

The module is designed to elucidate those general themes and principles that have emerged from the substantial body of detailed rules regulating the environment in international law, particularly since the 1972 Stockholm conference on the Human Environment. It will consider the extent to which these rules are evolving into a coherent legal regime.

 
Governance of the EU

This module explores the European Union's constitutional system and governance structures. We will discuss the unique nature of the EU as an integrated multilevel legal order of European nation states in which, in certain areas, powers have been transferred to federal institutions.

Theories of federalism, functionalism and institutionalism will be explored and notions of the legal and political accountability of the EU as a "system of governance" are a core feature of the module. The use of law as a mechanism for integration, and the role of the courts in such a process, will be examined. 

 
Imprisonment and Human Rights

This module covers:

  • human rights in prison
  • place of imprisonment in the penal system
  • conditions of imprisonment
  • medical treatment of prisoners
  • the prison regime and rights
  • civil rights of prisoners
  • security, order and discipline
  • external control and supervision
  • release of prisoners
  • the future of imprisonment
 
International and Comparative Penal Law and Human Rights

This module covers:

  • the development of international human rights law applicable to punishment
  • sentencing principlies and international standards
  • human rights as sentencing principles
  • corporal punishment
  • the death penalty
  • life imprisonment
  • indeterminate sentences
  • community sanctions
  • victims of crime and the penal process
  • sentencing and punishment in international courts and tribunals
 
International Criminal Evidence

This module explores the strengths and weaknesses of different models of proof in both domesticand international criminal justice systems and the extent to which an international consensus is emerging around the principles of evidence and proof.

 
International Criminal Law

An introduction to international criminal law issues, with particular emphasis on institutions (such as Nuremberg and Tokyo IMTs, the ad hoc Tribunals and the International Criminal Court) as well as substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law.

The module focuses on the institutional developments in international criminal law as well as the definition and application of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Principles of liability, defences and elements of international criminal procedure will also be covered.

 
International Human Rights Law

This module will introduce you to the law and practice related to international human rights. You will be encouraged to explore the foundations of international human rights law. The global, regional and national mechanisms of human rights protection will be introduced and evaluated. A selection of substantive human rights will be examined and contemporary challenges to human rights protection will be discussed.

 
International Humanitarian Law

This module examines the legal constraints of international and national warfare. It traces the historical and contextual development of the law and focuses upon the principles which govern warfare. During the module, you will also study the mechanisms for the enforcement and the implementation of international humanitarian law.

 
International Investment Law

This module deals with key aspects of the international system for the regulation of foreign investment. The module focuses primarily on issues arising from investor-host state relations under Bilateral Investment Treaties or BITs and some other International Investment Agreements or IIAs but also touches upon international investment contracts, where relevant.

Special attention will be given to the means of regulating investment using such instruments, including standards of treatment and breaches thereof, the taking of foreign property and the settlement of investment disputes by means of arbitration.

 
International Law on the Use of Force

This module looks at principles and laws governing unilateral and multilateral resort to force by states under the United Nations Charter and in customary international law. Instances where force is permissible will be considered as well as the more controversial claims to use force.

 
International Law of the Sea

The module will consider:

  • the history and evolution of the law of the sea 
  • baselines, internal waters and the territorial sea 
  • straits, archipelagos and the contiguous zone
  • the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone 
  • the high seas
  • the international seabed area and ice-covered areas
 
International Law of Transboundary Pollution

The module examines the techniques and mechanisms by which international law seeks to protect the atmosphere and freshwater resources from various forms of pollution.

 
International Law of Treaties

This module examines the legal regime governing the adoption, implementation, interpretation, amendment and termination of international agreements within the wider context of the role and significance of treaties in the international legal order.

 
Law, Development and the International Community

This module examines some of the relationships between law and development. After examining both the notion of development per se and the right to development as a human right, the module moves on to cover a number of individual issues where the relationship between law, development and human rights can be explored.

Subjects covered include:

  • the concept of development and the role of international law in promoting "development"
  • the regulation of aid
  • the WTO and developing countries
  • intellectual property and access to medication
  • the protection of traditional knowledge
  • agriculture
  • food aid and food security
  • sustainable development
  • gender and development
 
Mental Disability and International Human Rights

This module will examine the application of international human rights law, including both relevant UN conventions and the European Convention on Human Rights and its jurisprudence, to persons with mental disabilities.

 
Minorities and International Human Rights

The module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the application of international law standards to minorities and indigenous peoples. There is a strong focus on the decisions of international and European courts and international human rights bodies.

 
Principles of Public International Law

The module is primarily concerned with those customary and treaty rules governing relations between States. This module aims to give candidates a thorough grounding in the principles of PIL. The basic topics include: nature of international law, sources, actors in the international legal system, jurisdiction and state responsibility.

 
The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law

Following a review of the history of international refugee law, the course focuses on the legal context of forced displacement today, including the rights and obligations of States and the rights of individuals. The 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees are reviewed, with due regard also to human rights protection. Who is a refugee, and how decisions are made, are examined with reference to key terms, such as persecution, race, religion, political opinion and social group, and in light of selected contemporary issues, such as conscientious objection to military service, women refugees, flight from conflict, security, terrorism, and 'exclusion'.

The course also considers the legal standing of currently contested issues, such as the right to seek asylum, the principle of non-refoulement, procedural standards, the responsibility to determine asylum claims, and extra-territorial measures of interception. Examples from different jurisdictions and the practice of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are used to focus attention on the adequacy of existing international mechanisms, particularly in the face of the challenges presented by migration, human smuggling, trafficking, internal displacement, complex emergencies (including protracted conflict) and humanitarian assistance.

 
Public Procurement in EU and International Trade Law

This module examines the regulation of government procurement at international level for the purpose of opening up government markets to free trade. It provides a detailed examination of the system under EU Law, which has provided a model for other international systems, and of government procurement regulation in the WTO.

 
Regional Human Rights Law

This module will expose you to how human rights are protected in regional human rights law. In doing so, it will focus on the standards and mechanisms related to the Inter-American, African, ASEAN and Council of Europe (excluding the ECHR) regional human rights systems. Having addressed the evolution of the specific systems, as well as their key institutions, the course will focus on a number of substantive rights areas from a critical comparative perspective. These will include migrant rights, children's rights and limitations on rights within the different systems.

The module will cover both the 'theory' and the 'practice' of regional human rights protection. In addition to looking at standards and mechanisms, you will consider the challenges posed in the different regions to the effective realisation of (some or all) human rights. This will include an examination of issues such as regional social and cultural attitudes, as well as logistical issues such as the limited enforcement powers and poor resourcing of some regional human rights systems.

 
Religion and International Human Rights

The module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the application of international law standards to religion. There is a strong focus on the decisions of international and European courts and international human rights bodies.

 
The Rights of the Child

The module will explore the rights of the child in international human rights law, focusing on topics such as the concepts of childhood and the best interests of the child, family rights, education, child soldiers, child labour, the punishment of children, and the economic social and cultural rights of the child.

 
United Nations Law

This module examines the international institutional law and general international law governing the United Nations, including the central organs (for example the Security Council and General Assembly), subsidiary organs (such as the UNEP and the UNDP), and the specialised agencies (for example, the WHO, UNESCO, ICAO). 

It considers:

  • the UN's constitutional basis
  • its legal personality and powers
  • membership and budgetary matters
  • representation and decision making
  • sanctions regimes
  • the UN's military options
  • issues of responsibility, accountability and immunities
  • the UN's contribution to the development and enforcement of international law
 
The World Trading System

This module deals with key aspects of World Trade Organisation Law. It focuses on:

  • the institutional and organisational structure of the WTO and dispute settlement
  • GATT (dealing with tariffs and other barriers to import of goods)
  • GATS (the agreement regulating international trade in services) 
  • rules on unfair trade such as anti-dumping, subsidies and safeguards

Some attention is also paid to the relationship between regionalism and globalisation and to the issues of preferential trade and development.

 

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Funding

Funding information is available on the school website and can also be found on the Graduate School website.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.

 
 

Careers

Our graduates move into a wide range of careers. Many go into the legal profession or return to their previous legal careers with specialist knowledge and enhanced prospects. Others successfully seek employment with international organisations as well as international and local NGOs.

Some graduates further their academic career by progressing onto our PhD programme. These students often choose to stay at the University of Nottingham beyond their doctorate, with a number of academics becoming members of staff after completing their LLM/masters and PhD with us.

With an advanced law degree from the University of Nottingham, you will be well-placed to pursue your career ambitions and realise your goals.

Employability and average starting salary

96.6% of postgraduates from the School of Law who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £23,214 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £32,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.

 
 
 
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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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