SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Foundations of International Law

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

International Law 1 is an introductory lecture-based module, which is suitable for students with no legal background. Its objective is to impart a thorough understanding of the sources, doctrines and institutions of international law and provide students with the knowledge and skills to deal confidently with international legal issues.

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

This module is available to all CISD students. The time of the lecture will rotate on a yearly basis: In 2014/15, lectures took place at 1pm; in 2015/16 lectures took place at 6pm.

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

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

Suggested reading

  • M. Evans (ed.), 3rd edn International Law, (2010)
  • D. Kennedy, The Dark Side of Virtue (2004)
  • M. Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civiliser of Nations (2001)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules