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International Law and Politics (LAWS90023)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90023
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The course will examine the ways in which 'political' arguments and considerations intrude in the various fields of public international law and are then translated into legal doctrines and principles in legal practice. It will thus offer a contextual reading of the role of international law – use of force, human rights, international criminal law, international economic law – in the struggle for the adoption of spiritual and material values in the world

Principal topics include:

  • A brief contextual history of the 'rise' of modern international law (1870-2000)
  • An analysis of the structure of international legal argument
  • A study of history and structure in the following fields:
    • Sovereignty
    • Sources of international law
    • Use of force
    • Human rights
    • International criminal law
    • International investment law
    • International environmental law.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have a sophisticated understanding of the history and structure of international legal argument
  • Possess critical awareness of the political and value-laden character of international legal rules and practices
  • Be able to construct professionally competent legal arguments in key fields of international law
  • Have the capacity to be an engaged participant in debates about the role and value of international law as an argumentative practice.

Eligibility and requirements


All students must have completed an introductory course in international law.



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant's educational background and professional experience.

Core participation requirements

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Additional details

  • Class participation (10%)
  • Research paper (8,000 to 10,000 words) (90%) (7 August) on topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • May
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24-34 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Pre teaching start date17 April 2019
    Pre teaching requirementsThe pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.
    Teaching period15 May 2019 to 21 May 2019
    Last self-enrol date22 April 2019
    Census date15 May 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail28 June 2019
    Assessment period ends 7 August 2019

    May contact information

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 30 students.

Enrolment is on a first come, first served basis. Waitlists are maintained for subjects that are fully subscribed.

Students should note priority of places in subjects will be given as follows:

  • To currently enrolled Graduate Diploma and Masters students with a satisfactory record in their degree
  • To other students enrolling on a single subject basis, eg Community Access Program (CAP) students, cross-institutional study and cross-faculty study.

Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Specialist materials will be made available free of charge from Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    If required, please contact law-admissions@unimelb.edu.au for subject coordinator approval.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 1 October 2019