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 (for example, 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 European Union
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
- food aid and food security
- sustainable development
- gender and development
Minorities and International Human Rights Law
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
- 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 module 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 module 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 module 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).
- 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 Organization 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.