International Law and Relations

Subject LAWS70455 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment:

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

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:

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

This subject will place international law in the context of the practice of international relations and, in particular, international diplomacy. It will be taught by Professor Gerry Simpson and Richard Rowe, a former official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a person with a life-time of extraordinary experience in the operation of international legal diplomacy. The subject will focus on how the international legal order intersects with and constitutes the practice of international diplomacy while at the same time introducing students to leading theoretical accounts of international law’s role in global political life.

Principal topics include:

  • Treaty design, negotiation, and implementation
  • Use of international courts and organisations
  • Politics and international law
  • The history of international law in diplomatic practice
  • Techniques of diplomacy and law
  • Problems of diplomacy and law.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Understand how international law operates in the shadow of global political life and in the framework of international diplomatic practice
  • Be conversant in theories of compliance and accounts of legal politics
  • Acquire skills in the techniques of international diplomacy
  • Possess an advanced, detailed, and integrated understanding of the legal structures and processes of international diplomatic life
  • Be able to situate the Council in a history of Great Power management
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to the workings of the diplomatic order and to critically evaluate, with creativity and autonomy, existing legal theories about its operation
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to diplomatic practice
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information about the relationship between international law and international relations to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and student in the field of international law generally and in relation to diplomatic practice more particularly.
  • Take-home examination (100%) (23-26 October)
  • 10,000 word research paper (100%) (2 December) 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:

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Law and Development
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law

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