LAW30730 Public International Law

Academic Year 2023/2024

Traditionally, public international law was said to concern the legal relations between sovereign equal states. If that description was ever really accurate or adequate, today it is certainly a view of international law under strain. The growing and increasingly complex web of treaty rules establishing regimes to regulate virtually every field of human endeavour – from the oceans to global finance and trade – often also establishing ambitious institutional structures with significant normative power and influence, sees modern international law increasingly penetrate the day-to-day functioning of all sovereign states.

The first part of the module seeks to offer an introduction to the nature, sources, subjects and institutional structures of modern international law, discussing foundational principles and doctrines, looking at matters such as the sources, structures and subjects of international law followed by an introduction to jurisdiction and international responsibility. Throughout this part appropriate references will be made to the role on international organisations. The second part of the module will focus on the use of force in international law and humanitarian intervention. The module will conclude with a discussion of the future of international law.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module, students should have an enhanced appreciation and understanding of:
- the nature and sources of public international law;
- questions relating to the sovereignty of territory and the state;
- the scope of the issues relating to the use of force in international law; and,
- the evolving role of international organisations in contemporary international law.
On completion of this module, students should also have enhanced the generally transferable skills and specific skills already developed throughout their degree programmes. This module aims to enhance the following skills:
- the ability to present a coherent written legal argument; and,
- the ability to conduct legal research, especially using international legal materials.

Students will be expected to demonstrate these learning outcomes through an examination in which they will be required to answer two questions from a range of questions reflecting the lectures in the module.

Indicative Module Content:

Introduction to Public International Law
- International Law in Ireland
Sources of International Law
- Treaties, Custom, Judicial Practice and other sources
Subjects of International Law
- States, United Nations and International Organisations
Sovereignty and Territory
- Law of the Sea, Air and Outer Space
Jurisdiction and Immunities
- Sovereign Immunity in Ireland
State Responsibility
- Individual Responsibility
International Courts and Tribunals
- International Criminal Law
Use of Force by States
- Sanctions, Countermeasures, Collective Security
- The Law of Armed Conflict
- Humanitarian Intervention
The Future of International Law?

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be delivered through face-to-face lectures. Presentations used in the lectures will be posted on Brightspace and these will include an indication of reading and additional reading. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
LAW30420 - Public International Law II, LAW30430 - Public International Law I

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: A two-hour examination in which the students must answer two questions from a range of questions addressing aspects of the lectures. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Generalised feedback will be offered to all students on student performance in the examination.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 09:00 - 10:50