International Law

Subject LAWS40006 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Three hours of seminars per week.
Total Time Commitment:

120 +/- 24 hours.


Principles of Public Law.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Alison Duxbury


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475

Subject Overview:

This subject will introduce students to the general principles underlying contemporary public international law. It will examine and critically assess issues such as:

  • The scope, nature and development of international law;
  • Sources of international law, principally treaties and customary international law;
  • Theories of international law;
  • The institutional framework for the development and implementation of international law, including the United Nations system and the International Court of Justice;
  • The relationship between international law and domestic law;
  • Legal personality under international law including the criteria for statehood and the status of non state entities;
  • The means of acquiring territory;
  • Bases of state jurisdictional competence including state and diplomatic immunity;
  • State responsibility for wrongful acts under international law;
  • The regulation of the use of force and the right to self-defence.

On completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Understand the structure, institutions and principles of international law;
  • Assess the international legal implications of current events and Australian foreign policy;
  • Understand the nature and functions of the international legal system in contrast to domestic law, and the relationship between the international and national law;
  • Identify the sources of international law and understand the positions of developed and developing nations regarding traditional norms of law;
  • Understand the powers and functions of the United Nations and its specialised agencies, and other international organisations, particularly dispute resolution procedures;
  • Understand the role of the State in international law;
  • Identify and apply the international law relating to the use of force;
  • Understand some of the theoretical and/or critical perspectives on international law and their contribution to our understanding of international law.
  • Exam 3 hours (100%)


  • Exam 2 hours (60%)


    2,000 word assignment due late semester on a topic set by the coordinator (40%).
Prescribed Texts:
  • M Dixon, R McCorquodale and S Williams, Cases and Materials on International Law (5th Edition);
  • Additional printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

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