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Unit information: General Principles of International Law in 2015/16

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Unit name General Principles of International Law
Unit code LAWD20041
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Murray
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This is an introductory unit in Public International Law which provides some of the basic skills and knowledge required to study more specialist aspects of international law. The unit also stands alone as an overview of some foundational issues in international law. The unit considers a number of key inter-related questions: in particular, what is international law and why does it matter? To whom does it apply? Where are the rules of this legal order to be found, and how are they enforced? The unit is designed to make students think critically about the structure, sources and function of international law and the relevance of these issues to contemporary international problems.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Explain the principles of international law
  • Explain the institutional structure of international law, the law-making and decision-making processes; and, in particular, the United Nations
  • Explain international law and how it relates to national law
  • State the law accurately
  • Apply legal principles to problem case scenarios
  • Think critically about ways in which the law could be reformed

Teaching Information

23 lectures and 7 tutorials.

Assessment Information

The unit will be assessed by means of a 3 hour written exam. It will contain both essay and problem questions. In preparation for the exam, students are required to do one and may do two formatives essay to practice exam skills, on which feedback will be provided.

The examination includes both problem type and essay type questions, designed to assess both whether students were able to understand and apply the law across the breadth of the syllabus, and whether they were able to think critically about it. The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

• Evans, International Law (4th edition, OUP, 2014)
• Shaw, International Law (7th Edition, 2014).
• 'Dixon/McCorquodale/Williams, Cases and Materials on International Law (8th Edition, 2011)
• Harris, Cases and Materials on International Law (7th ed., 2010)
• Evans, International Law Documents, OUP, 12th Edition, 2015