International Law and Development

Subject LAWS70093 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2013:

March, 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: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

The concept of development has been crucial to structuring international legal relations from the end of World War II to the present day. During that time, international law and institutions have taken on ‘development’ as a primary project. In both the public and economic domains, the vast majority of international institutions engage with the development project in some shape or form. This subject invites students to think about the nature and importance of development and its relation to international law. The history of development in relation to imperialism, decolonisation, the cold war and globalisation means that this set of relations is complex and dynamic. Understanding it is crucial to understanding the place of international law, and the work development does in the contemporary world.

Principal topics will include:

  • Law and development as a field
  • The ‘development’ concept and its precursors
  • The relationship between the concepts of ‘law’ and ‘development‘
  • The institutionalisation of development
  • Development, imperialism, decolonisation and the nation state
  • Permanent sovereignty over natural resources and the new international economic order
  • Debt crises and development(s) at the Bretton Wood institutions
  • Trade and development
  • Globalisation, governance and the rule of law
  • Sustainability, democracy and human rights
  • Resistance, alternatives and post-development
  • The future: Development and security.

This subject will provide a conceptual, historical and theoretical frame for students undertaking Master of Law and Development in which to situate and critically assess learning in other subjects. For students in other courses, this subject will help you understand the importance of the concept of development to our understandings of international law and appreciate development’s central role in the construction and maintenance of contemporary global orderings.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Have a thorough knowledge of the range of processes and actors involved in the institutionalisation of development
  • Have a general understanding of the role of international institutions, particularly the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) with respect to development
  • Be aware of the historical context and range of theories of law and development propounded by international institutions
  • Have the capacity to assess the effects, both intended and unintended, of particular development initiatives
  • Be familiar with the range of theoretical approaches to understanding and critiquing law and development initiatives.

Class participation (5%)

Group assignment: Class presentation (10%) and book review 1,500 words (15%) (27 March)

8,000 word research paper (70%) (3 June) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

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