LL4E6 Half Unit
International Dispute Resolution: Courts and Tribunals
This information is for the 2020/21 session.
Dr Devika Hovell
This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Human Rights and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.
Some prior knowledge of international law is useful but not essential.
Increasingly, international law is developed, applied and amended through litigation in international, regional and domestic courts. Richard Goldstone, former Prosecutor of the Yugoslav Tribunal, has gone so far as to say, 'it seems to me that if you don't have international tribunals, you might as well not have international law'. In this course, we examine key courts and tribunals operating on the world stage, including the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the WTO Dispute Settlement Body. We look at the theory, politics and practical difficulties of international dispute resolution in these courts.
The course has practical and theoretical aspects. For those interested in a career in international law, we will have the opportunity to hear from a range of interesting and eminent practitioners currently working in the courts and tribunals we study. Interested students can engage in a 'mini¬ moot' before our guest speakers, providing an opportunity to hone their advocacy skills.
The theoretical dimension of the course involves three main elements:
1. First, 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 analyse 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.
This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours in Michaelmas Term. Students will usually have two additional hours in the Summer Term. This year teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.
Students are asked to choose from EITHER an oral moot presentation and written submissions OR one 2,000 word formative essay.
Reading lists will be provided for each week’s seminar on Moodle.
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.
Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
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: 26
Average class size 2019/20: 26
Controlled access 2019/20: Yes
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Specialist skills