Public International Law

Subject LAWS50041 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 hours - intensive or semester long.
Total Time Commitment:

144 hours.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 1


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law School welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and Law School policy to take all reasonable steps to enable the participation of students with disabilities, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the School’s programs.

The inherent academic requirements for the study in the Melbourne Law School are:

  1. The ability to attend classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  2. The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  3. The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  4. The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  5. The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  6. The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel their disability will prevent them from participating in tasks involving these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


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

Subject Overview:

This subject develops further the understanding of international public law acquired in Principles of Public Law but begins to think of international law as a distinctively cosmopolitan and political practice, as well as a constitutive language of international diplomacy. The idea, then, is to acquire some sort of historically-situated understanding of the grammars of international law, the projects to which international lawyers commit and the choices made and not made by international lawyers in the context of the institutional life of international law.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject, students should aspire to:

  • Think, speak and write imaginatively about the problems of international (legal) order and disorder.

Supervised open-book three-hour examination (100%).

Prescribed Texts:
  • The Cambridge Companion to Public International Law (CUP, 2012);
  • Specialist printed materials will be made available from 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 the subject, students should have developed the following skills to draw on their developed understanding of Public International Law to:

  • Interpret the historical context of law in order to analyse complex contemporary politico-legal problems;
  • Investigate and analyse diverse aspects of the international legal regime through the location and close reading of a range of relevant primary and secondary source materials;
  • Develop well-reasoned and sophisticated arguments as to the appropriate legal principles to apply in various circumstances in which aspects of public international law are relevant; and
  • Present these specialist arguments, analyses and application of principles in the form of written arguments that are appropriately investigated, structured, developed, supported and referenced.


This subject has a quota of 60 students.

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