International Law and Relations

Subject LAWS70455 (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
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:

Leading legal scholars throughout the world increasingly employ theories and methods drawn from the study of international relations. Some see the emergence of ‘IR-IL’ as a powerful step forward in our understanding of international law’s structure and dynamics. To others it is an unwelcome development that strips from international law its special normative underpinnings. This subject will explore a wide variety of areas and doctrines that have been informed by this increasingly prominent interdisciplinary approach to international law. Why do States create international courts that can rule against them? Why do treaties contain exit clauses? Is high treaty compliance desirable? Why do so many States sign bilateral investment treaties that decrease their welfare? The subject will cover material from a diverse array of writers on these topics and others, with the aim of better understanding how law and politics interact in the international sphere.

Principal topics will include:

  • Treaty design, negotiation, and implementation
  • Delegation to international courts and organisations
  • Power and international law.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Understand how international relations scholarship sheds light on international legal doctrine, structure, and dynamics
  • Be conversant in the basics of IR theory and their application to custom, treaty, and international organization.
  • Take-home examination (100%) (4 – 7 July)
  • 10,000 word research paper (100%) (11 August) 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:

Download PDF version.