[skip to content]

School of Law

International law and global orders

Course Code:
Course Not Running 2015/2016
Unit value:
Taught in:
Term 2

This half unit course running in Term 2 provides an introduction to the field of international law and organization, examining the history of ideas, legal doctrines, institutional and administrative structures developed over the last century to organize and legalize international economic and political life. We will examine the United Nations system, situating it in relationship to the broader institutional structures of public international law and regulation, private ordering and multinational enterprise, non-governmental organization and transnational judicial cooperation. 

The course will combine intellectual and institutional history with an examination of various constitutional and institutional arrangements. We will examine the functioning of these various international organizational mechanisms in a series of different substantive areas, paying particular attention to human rights, economic law and regulation, development, and the use of force.

We will approach the organization and institutionalization of global society from the viewpoint of law, rather than political science.

The assigned readings will focus on various ways to think about the legal organization of global order, and on the history of legal efforts to organize and institutionalize international affairs.


Please note that this is an intensive module.  It is a pre-requisite that students have either studied Public International Law at an Undergraduate level or taken the Foundations in International Law that precedes this course in term 1.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

By the end of this course, students should be familiar with a range of English-language scholarship on the subject of international law and global order, have a clear understanding of the various ways to think about the legal organization of global order, and on the history of legal efforts to organize and institutionalize international affairs. Consequently, students should be able to demonstrate that they:

  1. have an understanding of the history of ideas, legal doctrines and institutional structures developed to organize and legalize economic and political life;
  2. have a critical understanding of the different ways such constitutional and institutional arrangements may shape our understanding of global order;
  3. understand in a critical manner the relationship between law, institutions and the political economy of global order;
  4. are able to articulate and appraise different ideas, concepts, and approaches to global order through concise yet sophisticated written and oral interventions.


This is a course that runs annually in Term 2: students will attend one 2 hour lecture/seminar per day over 10 days

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: 100% coursework (one 5,000 word essay)

Suggested reading

  • Thomas Weiss, David Forsythe, Roger Coate, The United Nations and Changing World Politics (4th ed. Westview Press, 2004).
  • David Kennedy, The Dark Sides of Virtue: Reassessing International Humanitarianism (Princeton University Press, 2005).
  • Philippe Sands and Pierre Klein, Bowett’s Law of International Institutions (Sweet and Maxwell, 2001)
  • Frederic Kirgis, International Organizations in their Legal Setting (2nd ed. West Publishing, 1993)
  • David Kennedy, Of War and Law (Princeton University Press, 2006) This will be the main text for the final section of the course.
  • John Jackson, The World Trading System: Law and Policy of International Economic Relations (2nd ed. MIT Press, 1997).
  • Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson, Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth (Hyperion Press, 2004)
  • Joel Baken, The Corporation : The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (Free Press, 2004). An excellent overview of corporate law from a progressive left standpoint.
    Kratochwil and Ruggie, eds. International Organization: A Reader (Harper Collins, 1994)
  • Martin and Simmons, eds., International Institutions: An International Organization Reader (MIT Press, 2001)
  • Paul Diehl, ed., The Politics of Global Governance: International Organizations in an Interdependent World (2nd ed. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001)
  • Nye and Donahue, eds., Governance in a Globalizing World (Brookings Institution Press, 2000)
  • David Kennedy, The Disciplines of International Law and Policy, 12 Leiden Journal of International Law and Policy, 9-37 and 83-133 (1999).
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Technology: Principal Theories of International Relations, Chapter 1 in International Law and International Relations (Anne-Marie Slaughter, Hague Academy of International Law Lectures, 2000)
  • James Gathii, International Law and Eurocentricity 9 European Journal of International Law (1998) 184-211
  • Antony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law, (Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2005)
  • Hilary Charlesworth and Christine Chinkin, The Boundaries of International Law (Manchester, 2000)
  • Balakrishnan Rajagopal, International Law From Below: Development, Social Movements and Third World Resistance (Cambridge Press, 2003)
  • Robert Keohane, International Relations and International Law: Two Optics, 38 (2) Harvard International Law Journal (Spring 1997), 487-502
  • Kenneth Abbot and Duncan Snidal, Why States Act through Formal Organizations, 42 Journal of Conflict Resolution (February 1998) 3-32.
  • Myres McDougal, Law and Power, A.J.I.L. 102 (1952)
  • Martti Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civiliser of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 2001) particularly the introduction.
  • Malley, Manas, Nix, Constructing the State Extra-territorially; Jurisdictional Discourse, the National Interest and Transnational Norms 103 Harv. L. R. 1273 (1990) (excerpts)
  • Paul Schiff Berman, The Globalization of Jurisdiction, Author’s summary and pages 1-13.
  • David Kennedy, Receiving the International 10 Connecticut Journal of International Law (1994)
  • Richard Ashley and R.B.J. Walker, Reading Dissidence/Writing the Discipline: Crisis and the Question of Sovereignty in International Studies, 34 Int’l Studies Q. 367-416 (1990) (excerpts).
  • Annelise Riles, Note: Aspiration and Control: International Legal Rhetoric and the Essentialization of Culture, 106 Harvard Law Review 723 (1993) (excerpts)
  • David Kennedy, Some Reflections on “The Role of Sovereignty in the International Order," in State Sovereignty: The Challenge of a Changing World: Proceedings of the 1992 Conference of the Canadian Council on International Law, (1992) 237.
  • David Kennedy, The Nuclear Weapons Case: International Law at the Close of the Twentieth Century, in International Law, the World Court and Nuclear Weapons, Philippe Sands, ed. (1999) 460.
  • Wihelm Roepke, Economic Order and International Law” 86 Recueil des Cours 203 (1954 II) (excerpts)
  • David Kennedy, Challenging Expert Rule: The Politics of Global Governance 27 Sydney Journal of International Law 5-28 (2005)
  • Thomas Franck, Legitimacy and the Democratic Entitlement in Gregory Fox and Brad Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law, (Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali, An Agenda for Democratization, (United Nations Department of Public Information, 1996)
  • Philippe Sands, Greening of International Law, xxx-xlvii (1994)
  • Thomas Franck, The Power of Legitimacy Among Nations (1990)
  • Thomas Franck, Fairness in International Law and Institutions (1995)
  • Richard Falk, Environmental Protection in the Era of Globalization, 6 Yearbook of International Environmental Law 3, 3-7 and 24-25 (2001)
  • Dan Danielsen, How Corporations Govern: Taking Corporate Power Seriously in Transnational Regulation and Governance, 46 (2) Harvard International Law Journal 405 (2005)
  • Dan Danielsen, Corporate Power and Global Order, forthcoming in Anne Orford, ed., International Law and its Others (Cambridge University Press 2006)
  • Gunter Teubner and Andreas Fischer-Lescano, Regime-Collisions: The Vain Search for Legal Unity in the Fragmentation of Global Law, Michigan Journal of International Law 25 (2004) 999-1045.
  • Joel Bakan, The Corporation: the Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
  • John Braithwaite and Peter Drahos, Global Business Regulation, (Cambridge Press, 2000)
  • Harold H. Koh, Transnational Legal Process, 75 Nebraska Law Review 181 (1996)
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, International Law in a World of Liberal States, 6 Eur. J. Int’l. Law. 503 (1995)
  • Abram Chayes and Antonia Handler Chayes, The New Sovereignty: Compliance with International Regulatory Agreements (1995)
  • Bryant G. Garth and Yves Dezalay, Dealing in Virtue: International Commercial Arbitration in the Constitution of a Transnational Legal Order 1-32 (1996)
  • Jessica Mathews, Power Shift, 76 (1) Foreign Affairs 50 (1997)
  • Annelise Riles, The Network Inside Out, (The University of Michigan Press, 2000) (excerpts)
  • John Gerard Ruggie, Global_governance.net: The Global Compact as Learning Network, 7 Global Governance 371-378 (2001)
  • Wolfgang Reinicke and Francis Deng, Critical Choices: The United Nations, Networks, and the Future of Global Governance – Executive Summary, (UN Vision Project on Global Public Policy Networks, 2000)
  • Thomas Weiss and Leon Gordenker, eds., NGOs, the UN, and Global Governance (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1995)
  • David Held and Mathias Koenig-Archibugi, eds., Taming Globalization: Frontiers of Governance (Polity Press, 2003)
  • Brett Schaefer, Unilateralism Saved Lives in Asia, Heritage Foundation, January 11, 2005.
  • Ruth Wedgwood, Unilateral Action in a Multilateral World in Multilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Ambivalent Engagement, S. Patrick and S. Forman, eds., (Rienner, 2001)
  • The White House Fact Sheet, Proliferation Security Initiative (September 4, 2003)
  • Stephan G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, International Relations Theory and the Case against Unilateralism, 3 Perspectives on Politics, No.3, (September 2005), 509.
  • Transforming Alliances: Coalitions of the Willing vs. Enduring Regional Alliances, from webmemo #475, Heritage Foundation, proceedings of November 6-7, 2003 conference “The Viability of International Regimes and Institutions”
  • 11 European Journal of International Law, No.1, (2000) Articles from the Unilateralism in International Law: a United States –European Symposium.
  • Gill Seyfang and Andrew Jordan, The Johannesburg Summit and Sustainable Development: How Effective Are Environmental Mega-Conferences in Yearbook of International Co-operation on Environment and Development 2002/03 (Earthscan, 2002)
  • Ileana Porras, The Rio Declaration: A New Basis for International Cooperation” in The Greening of International Law, Sands, ed.,(1994): 20-33
  • Peter M. Haas, UN Conferences and Constructivist Governance of the Environment, 8 Global Governance Issue 1 (Jan-March 2002): 73
  • Karin Backstrand and Michael Saward, Democratizing Global Environmental Governance? Stakeholder Democracy at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, Paper for Presentation at the Fifth Pan-European Conference on International Relations, The Hague, (September 9-11, 2004)
  • David Kennedy, The Move to Institutions, 8 Cardozo Law Review 841 (1987)
  • Alejandro Alvarez, The New International Law Grotius Society, 35-51 (April 16, 1929)
  • Jessup, The Functional Approach as Applied to International Law (1928)
  • Leo Gross, The Peace of Westphalia 1648-1948, 42 A.J.I.L. 20 (1948)
  • Roland Barthes, The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies, (Hill and Wang, 1979)
  • UN Reform at www.ReformtheUN.org. See “UN Reform, An Introduction” and “Follow-up and Implementation on UN Reform Document”
  • Nathaniel Berman, Modernism, Nationalism, and the Rhetoric of Reconstruction, 4 Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities 351 (1992)
  • David Kennedy, A New World Order: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 4: X Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems 330 (1995)
  • Judith Bello, The WTO Dispute Settlement System Understanding: Less is More, 90 AJIL 416 (1996)
  • David Kennedy, The International Style in Postwar Law and Policy: John Jackson and the Field of International Economic Law, American University Journal of International Law and Policy, 671 (1995)
  • Nathaniel Berman, Legalizing Jerusalem, Or, Of Law, Fantasy and Faith” 45 Catholic U. L. Rev., 823-835 (1996)
  • Thomas Christiansen, European and Regional Integration, in The Globalization of World Politics (J. Baylis and S. Smith eds, 2nd ed, 2001): 494-510.
  • David M. Trubek and Louise G. Trubek, Hard and Soft Law in the Construction of Social Europe: the Role of the Open Method of Co-ordination 11 European Law Journal, No. 3, (May 2005): 343-364.
  • Burkard Eberlein and Dieter Kerwer, New Governance in the European Union: A Theoretical Perspective in 42 Journal of Common Market Studies No. 1 (2004): 121-42.
  • Pertti Ahonen, Soft Governance, Agile Union? Analysis of the Extensions of Open Coordination in 2000, European Institute of Public Administration, Maastricht, (18 April 2001)
  • Neill Nugent, European Union Law and the Courts, in The Government and Politics of the European Union (5th ed., 2003): 235-258
  • Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, Turkey’s Accession to the European Union: Debating the Most Difficult Enlargement Ever, 26 SAIS Review, No. 1 (Winter-Spring 2006)
  • C. Wilfred Jenks, Unanimity, The Veto, Weighted Voting, Special and Simple Majorities and Consensus as Modes of Decision in International Organizations, Cambridge Essays in International Law, Essays in Honor of Lord McNair 48-63 (1965)
  • Philip Allott, Power Sharing in the Law of the Sea 77 AJIL 5-8 (1983)
  • Corbett, What is the League of Nations? British Yearbook of International Law (1924) 119-148 (excerpts)
  • Michael P. Scharf, Musical Chairs: The Dissolution of States and Membership in the UN, 28 Cornell International Law Journal (1995): 29-69.
  • Oscar Schachter, The United Nations Legal Order: An Overview, in Christopher Joyner ed, The United Nations and International Law, 1-19
  • Paul Szasz, General Law-Making Processes, in Christopher Joyner ed., The United Nations and International Law, 27-44
  • “The UN Finance in Comparative Perspective” (2006) available at www.globalpolicy.org/finance/tables/fincomp.htm
  • Oscar Schachter, Dag Hammarskjold and the Relation of Law to Politics 56A.J.I.L. 1 (1962)
  • David Kennedy, Leader, Clerk or Policy Entrepreneur? The Secretary General in a Complex World. In Simon Chesterman, ed., Secretary or General?: The Role of the United Nations Secretary General in World Politics (Cambridge, 2006)
  • Kingsbury, Krisch, Stewart and Wiener, special eds., The Emergence of Global Administrative Law, 68 Law and Contemporary Problems, (Summer/Autumn 2005)
  • J. Berteling, Inter-Secretariat Co-ordination in the United Nations System, Netherlands International Law Journal, 21-42 (1977)
  • A.P. Sloan, Jr. The Management of General Motors, in Pugh, Organizational Theory, 182-188 (1971)
  • Norman Dufty, Organizational Growth and Goal Structure: The Case of the ILO, 26 International Organization 479 (1972)
  • David Rieff, A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis (Simon & Schuster, 2002): 1-25.
  • Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson, Emergency Sex and Other Desparate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth (Hyperion Press, 2004)
  • Simon Chesterman, Just War or Just Peace?: Humanitarian Intervention and International Law (Oxford University Press, USA, 2001) (excerpts)
  • Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect (December 2001)
  • Alex Cunliffe and Michael Pugh, UNHCR as Leader in Humanitarian Assistance: A Triumph of Politics Over Law? in Nicholson and Twomey, eds., Refugee Rights and Realities (1999)
  • Gil Loescher, The UNHCR and World Politics, Chapter 1, “The UNHCR at 50: State Pressures and Institutional Autonomy, (Oxford University Press, 2001): 1-20.
  • The Millenium Development Goals and the United Nations Role, Fact Sheet, (United Nations Department of Public Information, October 2002)
  • The Barcelona Development Agenda, Forum Barcelona (2004)
  • David Kennedy, The 'Rule of Law,' Political Choices and Development Common Sense, in The New Law and Economic Development, David M. Trubek, and Alvaro Santos, eds., (Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • Sigmund Freud, “Thoughts for the Times on War and Death” (1915)
  • Surakiart Sathirathai, Peace and Security: the Challenge and the Promise, 41 Texas International Law Journal, Special, (2005)
  • Cortright and Lopez, Sanctions and the Search for Security, Chapter 11, Reform or Retreat? The Future of UN Sanctions Policy, (2002): 201 –224
  • An Agenda for Peace: Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peacekeeping, Report of the Secretary General of 31 January 1992, A/47/277 - S/24111 with Supplement of 3 January 1995, A/50/60 - S/1995/1
  • Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations of 21 August 2000, , A/55/305 – S/2000/809, (Only table of contents and executive summary)
  • Thomas Franck, Recourse to Force: State Action against Threats and Armed Attacks (Cambridge University Press, 2002): 20-31
  • Jose Alvarez, Judging the Security Council 90 AJIL (1996)