International Law and Politics

Subject LAWS90023 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (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.


All students must have completed an introductory course in international law.

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:

The course will examine the ways in which ‘political’ arguments and considerations intrude in the various fields of public international law and are then translated into legal doctrines and principles in legal practice. It will thus offer a contextual reading of the role of international law – use of force, human rights, international criminal law, international economic law – in the struggle for the adoption of spiritual and material values in the world

Principal topics include:

  • A brief contextual history of the 'rise' of modern international law (1870-2000)
  • An analysis of the structure of international legal argument
  • A study of history and structure in the following fields:
    • Sovereignty
    • Sources of international law
    • Use of force
    • Human rights
    • International criminal law
    • International investment law 'Fragmentation'.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have a sophisticated understanding of the history and structure of international legal argument
  • Possess critical awareness of the political and value-laden character of international legal rules and practices
  • Be able to construct professionally competent legal arguments in key fields of international law
  • Have the capacity to be an engaged participant in debates about the role and value of international law as an argumentative practice.
  • Class participation (10%)
  • Take-home examination (90%) (1-4 May)
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 Government Law
Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law

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