International Law: Contemporary Issues

  • Summer schools
  • Department of Law
  • Application code SS-LL105
  • Starting 2022
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

This course develops understanding of international affairs through the study of the legal frameworks which ostensibly govern them. It situates international law within the material and cultural conditions of international politics and equips students with the tools to think critically about the role of law in the pursuit of global public goods.

Our approach is problem-based rather than purely doctrinal, and we focus on topical, controversial and high-profile issues in international politics – including:

  • Legal controversies arising from the Syrian conflict
  • The annexation of Crimea and the 2003 use of force against Iraq
  • War crimes trials, such as those of Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein
  • Economic globalisation and international economic integration via, for example, the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements
  • The promotion of human rights and environmental protection, with an emphasis on climate change.

Both lectures and classes are taught in a manner that encourages participation through role-plays, small group discussions, and question and answer sessions.

The course is not restricted to those with a background in law and typically draws students with an interest in international relations, global politics and global economic relations, as well as law.

Session: Two 
Dates: 11 July - 29 July 2022 
Lecturers: Professor Veerle Heyvaert, Dr Stephen Humphreys, Dr Mona PaulsenProfessor Gerry Simpson and Dr Devika Hovell


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 100 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One examination and one essay

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


None, although a familiarity with legal terminology would be an advantage.

Programme structure

  • The protection of the global environment
  • Possibilities and challenges of global economic integration
  • The use of force in international politics
  • The promotion and protection of human rights
  • International criminal law
  • The laws of war (international humanitarian law)
  • The right of colonised and other subjugated or oppressed peoples to self-determination

Course outcomes

Students will be given a solid grounding in the foundations of the international legal order. However, the course will be problem-based, rather than doctrinal, and will focus on controversial and challenging issues in contemporary international politics – including the recent examples of the use of force, international economic integration, international criminal law and the promotion and protection of human rights. 


LSE’s Law Department is one of the world’s best. In the UK, it was ranked first for research outputs in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) and in the top 5 law departments overall by The Complete University Guide in 2018. In the 2017 QS World University rankings, the Department was ranked seventh (out of 200 departments worldwide).

Many important subjects were first taught and examined systematically from an academic perspective in LSE’s Department of Law. We pioneered the study of banking law, taxation law, civil litigation, company law, labour law, family law, aspects of welfare law, and studies of the legal system and the legal profession, and continue to be the leading thinkers in our field.

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s law faculty.

Reading materials

There will be electronic resources for this course containing links to much of the essential reading. In addition, students should be sure to have individual access to both Evans (ed), International Law, 4th ed. (OUP: 2014), and Trebilcock, Advanced Introduction to International Trade Law (Edward Elgar, 2015).

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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