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.
We teach in small-group seminars where possible, allowing for an integrated, interactive learning experience. You are required to prepare for, and participate in, seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from them.
Written work on a legal topic of the your choice resulting from individual research and normally based upon material falling within the area covered by the degree for which you are registered.
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 business 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 business.
Economic and Social Rights
This module begins 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. The module will consider litigation and judicial enforcement of ESR in various jurisdictions.
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.
EU Single Market Law
This module is concerned with the substantive area of European Union single market law - the four economic freedoms of goods, persons, services and capital. It includes an introduction to the EU institutions and the powers of the EU to construct the single market as a core element of Europe's "economic constitution". It assesses the effectiveness of regulation and harmonisation as the main tools of market construction.
Each of the four economic freedoms is analysed in depth using case studies to focus on issues such as the tension between economic freedoms, or "market rights" and other rights and values concerning the public interest, such as economic and social rights and environmental protection. The methods adopted by the Court of Justice to strike a balance between these interests is evaluated. Cross-cutting issues across the four freedoms are explored.
EU Trade Law, Brexit and International Relations
This module is concerned with the European Union's (EU) status as a global trade power. Subjects examined include:
- the EU's competence to conduct trade policy and its effectiveness to achieve objectives beyond trade
- the scope of Common Commercial Policy, EU/WTO relationship
- trade and human rights
- trade and development cooperation
- EU-UK trade relations in the wake of Brexit
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, based on one or more case studies.
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 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 and defences will also be covered.
International Dispute Settlement
The module will cover the following issues:
- The notions of international dispute and peaceful settlement and disputes
- International dispute settlement mechanisms
- International adjudicative procedure
- Compliance, enforcement, effectiveness
- Theorising international dispute settlement
- Trends and prospects
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 mainly on issues arising from investor-host state relations under Bilateral Investment Treaties or BITs but also touches upon international investment contracts. Special attention will be given to the means of regulating investment using BITs, including standards of treatment, such as fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, national treatment and MFN, and breaches thereof, the taking of foreign property and the settlement of investment disputes by means of third party dispute settlement.
Attention will focus on the substantial and procedural aspects of international investment arbitration with specific reference to ICSID, as well as ad hoc arbitration, using UNCITRAL arbitration rules or the rules of other relevant arbitral fora.
International Law Mooting
This module is designed to give eligible and selected LLM students the opportunity to participate as team members in international law mooting competitions. The relevant areas of law will depend upon the moot entered.
International Law of the Sea
The course will cover five main areas:
- The history and evolution of law of the sea
- Maritime spaces under national jurisdiction
- Maritime spaces beyond national jurisdiction
- Humans and the ocean
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.
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.
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
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 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
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 students 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, Council of Europe (excluding the ECHR) and ASEAN 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 the right to life, children's rights and limitations on rights within the different 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 and the right to family life, education, child soldiers, child labour, gender and the rights of the girl child.
Rights, Humans and Other Animals
This module covers:
- changing perspectives on the status and treatment of animals
- developments in the field of protection of the human person
- philosophical foundations of human rights and applicability to other species
- the current regime governing the protection of animals under international law
- the notion of rights and implications of its extension to other species
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 Organisation law. The module focuses on:
- the institutional and organisational structure of the WTO and its dispute settlement system
- GATT 1994 (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 paid to the relationship between multilateral and regional and preferential trade and the relationship of trade to sustainable development, as well as consumer health and safety.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
You will be assessed by examination or essay, or a combination of both. Assessments take place at the end of each 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.