LL447E Half Unit
International Law: Courts and Tribunals
This information is for the 2020/21 session.
Dr Devika Hovell NAB6.32
This course is available on the Executive LLM. This course is not available as an outside option.
Available to Executive LLM students only. This course will be offered on the Executive LLM during the four year degree period. The Department of Law will not offer all Executive LLM courses every year, although some of the more popular courses may be offered in each year, or more than once each year. Please note that whilst it is the Department of Law's intention to offer all Executive LLM courses, its ability to do so will depend on the availability of the staff member in question. For more information please refer to the Department of Law website.
The course introduces students to the practice and theory of international legal dispute resolution, focusing on dispute settlement before courts and tribunals. The former Prosecutor of the Yugoslav Tribunal, Richard Goldstone, resolved that: ‘it seems to me that if you don’t have international tribunals, you might as well not have international law’. Given the proliferation of courts and tribunals applying and enforcing international law, certain scholars have argued we are witnessing the emergence of an ‘international judicial system’ (Martinez).
The course involves three main elements:
1. Firstly, the course examines the structure and work of the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, focusing on jurisdiction/admissibility, contentious cases and advisory opinions.
2. Secondly, the course introduces a variety of other international courts and tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court, domestic and regional courts dealing with international law and human rights, including the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body and investment treaty arbitral tribunals. Using contemporary and controversial case studies, the course will critically analyze and contrast the institutional design and jurisdiction of these courts and tribunals.
3. Thirdly, throughout the course we explore key theoretical controversies surrounding the adjudication of international law, focusing in particular on (a) how these courts and tribunals relate to one another (hierarchy, specialization and fragmentation); (b) what criteria should be used in assessing the legitimacy and effectiveness of these courts and tribunals; and (c) whether and how these courts and tribunals create international law.
24-26 hours of contact time.
Students are encouraged to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.
Indicative reading includes Karen Alter, The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights (2014 Princeton); Gleider Hernández, The International Court of Justice and the Judicial Function (2014 OUP); Yuval Shany, ‘No Longer a Weak Department of Power? Reflections on the Emergence of a New International Judiciary’ (2009) 20(1) European Journal of International Law 73; Frederic Megret and Marika Giles Samson, ‘Holding the Line on Complementarity in Libya: the Case for Tolerating Flawed Domestic Trials’ (2013) 11 Journal of International Criminal Justice 571.
Assessment path 1
Essay (100%, 8000 words).
Assessment path 2
Take-home assessment (100%).
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2019/20: Unavailable
Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable
Controlled access 2019/20: No
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Specialist skills