SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Foundations of International Law

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

Foundations of International Law is an introductory lecture-based module, which is suitable for students with no legal background. Its objective is to impart a critical understanding of the foundations of international law with a particular focus on issues affecting the global south.

The module covers the following topics:

• The history, nature and sources of public international law
• International personality including statehood and recognition
• Jurisdiction and immunities
• State responsibility
• Legal research and writing skills
• Critical perspectives on international law

This module is available to all CISD students and is a pre-requisite for the Term 2 module: International Law and Contemporary Problems of World Order

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • To provide a working knowledge of the sources, doctrines and institutions of public international law
  • To develop skills in analysing primary and secondary international law materials and in constructing legal argument
  • To develop legal research skills
  • To develop oral communication and team-work skills through participation in legal debates


The module will be taught over 10 weeks with one 90 minute lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week.

Method of assessment

  • Diagnostic class exam; Unassessed
  • Assessment one (1500 words); 50%
  • Unseen written examination; 50%

Suggested reading

• D Kennedy, The Rights of Spring: A Memoir of Innocence Abroad (2009)
• P Sands, The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive (2020)
• L Eslava, M Fakhri & V Nesiah (eds), Bandung, Global History and International Law (2017)
• G Heathcote, Feminist Dialogues in International Law (2019)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules