SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

International Law: Contemporary Problems of World Order

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 2

Contemporary Problems of World Order is an advanced seminar-based module that focuses on specialised areas of public international law with an emphasis on critical perspectives and current issues and controversies.

These areas include:

  • Self-determination of peoples
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Law of the Sea
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • The Use of Force
  • International Criminal law
  • International Law in International Relations and Diplomacy

This module is available to all CISD students who have either an appropriate legal background or have completed.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of this module students will have:

  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of the sources, doctrines and institutions of public international law
  • Knowledge and understanding of some of the specialised areas of international law
  • An ability to engage with the various theoretical and critical approaches to international law
  • An ability to carry out independent legal research using a  law library and legal electronic resources
  • An ability to engage in critical analysis of primary and secondary legal sources to a high standard
  • An ability to construct written and oral legal argument to a high standard


The course will be taught over 10 weeks with one 2 hour seminar per week.

Method of assessment

  • Research Presentation plus 300 words; 20%
  • Team Mooting Competition; 20%
  • Essay (2000 words); 60%

Suggested reading

  • P. Sands, Torture Teams: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law (2008)
  • G. Simpson, Law, War and Crime: War Crimes Trials and the Reinvention of International Law (2007)  
  • R. Wilde, International Territorial Administration: How Trusteeship and the Civilizing Mission Never Went Away (2008)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules