Public International Law

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2 or Year 3
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law

Module overview

This module provides an introduction to the main concepts and principles of public international law (PIL) with specific emphasis on their practical impact on the conduct of international affairs.

It is structured into three parts. The module focuses on the foundations of Public International Law (subjects, sources, principles and relations between international and domestic law) and prepares students to take specialised modules in public international law.

The module highlights the application of public international law and its relevancein relation to Asia, Africa and the Middle East through readings that engage international law outside of the mainstream Western context.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Identify and describe the foundational concepts in Public International Law (for example, international sources, the role of sovereignty, the impact of international institutions, jurisdiction, state responsibility)
  • Recount and illustrate particular areas of Public International Law (for example, Human Rights Law, the Laws on the use of Force), especially those areas which pertain to issues in Africa and Asia
  • Compare and appraise the role of different theoretical approaches in understandings of Public International Law
  • Arrange the knowledge in 1-3 into coherent written pieces appropriate to the assessment demands of the course


  • Weekly 2 hour lecture
  • 1 hour tutorial (please see syllabus for details of when tutorials are scheduled)

Method of assessment

  • Unseen written exam: 70% (3 hours)
  • Essay: 20% (2000 words)
  • Seminar participation: 10%

Suggested reading

  • Evans, International Law Documents, most recent edition
  • Jan Klabbers, International Law, 2013
  • Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law, 2005
  • Boyle and Chinkin, The Making of International Law, 2007


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.