International Economic Law

Subject LAWS40055 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject is not offered in 2012.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours, 1x2 hour seminar per week.
Total Time Commitment:

144 hours.


Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Legal Theory; or in each case, their equivalents.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

A student may not undertake both this subject and WTO Law during their degree.

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:


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

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to international economic law and the practice of key international economic organisations. It begins with a historical and theoretical background of the field before turning to focus on the law and practice of the World Trade Organization (WTO), including close analysis of the WTO dispute settlement system and the role of ‘free’ or preferential trade agreements within that system. This provides context for understanding international investment law, including under bilateral investment treaties and pursuant to investor-state dispute settlement decisions. Finally, the subject examines the lending policies and practices of international financial institutions, particularly the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.


The objectives of this subject are:

  • To familiarise students with the international legal rules, principles and organisations designed to regulate international trade and finance;
  • To understand the historical and theoretical background to international economic law;
  • To study the impact of trade and investment agreements and the activities of international economic organisations on domestic legal, political and social arrangements;
  • To develop the skills of close reading of international economic law materials, including relevant treaties, dispute settlement decisions and academic scholarship; and
  • To develop the oral and written skills of describing and evaluating international trade and economic law in a coherent and rigorous manner.
  • Research essay of 5,000 words on a topic provided or approved by the coordinator (100%)


  • A final examination of three hours (100%).
Prescribed Texts:

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
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time;
  • The capacity to participate as a member of a team;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • The formulation and presentation of argument;
  • Jurisprudential research;
  • Textual and contextual interpretation of treaties, dispute resolution decisions, the reports of international institutions and academic scholarship;
  • Oral and written presentation skills.

The research essay in this subject is regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing for honours purposes.

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