Post-Conflict State-Building

Subject LAWS70313 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Successful completion of Principles of International Law or equivalent

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:

Post-conflict State-building deals with the body of law and practice that applies to States as they emerge from conflict and try to build strong, prosperous and responsive communities. It lies at the intersection of several bodies of law including international law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and domestic constitutional law. Many of the issues with which it deals are at the cutting-edge of these fields: the extra-territorial effect of constitutional law; the possibility of a ‘lex pacificatoria’ to govern the ambiguous character of intra-State peace agreements; the legitimacy of constitutions developed with international assistance; the notion of transformative military occupation. The two teachers in this highly innovative subject bring different bodies of expertise to bear on it. Associate Professor Bruce Oswald is an international and international humanitarian law specialist; Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders works in the area of comparative constitutional law. Both have practical experience of aspects of post-conflict State-building, which informs their approach to teaching and research in the field.

Principal topics will include:

  • Post-conflict State-building
  • International humanitarian law and the law of occupation
  • Current trends in peace-building
  • Role and use of human rights to protect vulnerable groups
  • Role of constitution law and politics
  • Role and contribution of civil society.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand the various phases through which a state is likely to pass in the aftermath of major conflict, in theory and by reference to particular recent case studies
  • Be aware of the legal regimes that apply or may apply to each phase
  • Understand and be able to advise on the linkages between each phase, so as to anticipate difficulties and conceive the process as a whole
  • Be aware of the legal and practical limitations on the role of the international community during post-conflict state-building
  • Be able to think critically, discuss and reflect on the interaction between various areas of public international and domestic law in the context of post-conflict state-building
  • Have views on the problems of legal principle associated with post-conflict state-building and understand the options for resolving them in the future.
  • Take-home examination (100%) (10 – 13 October)
  • 10,000 word research paper (100%) (19 November) 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. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the 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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