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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2019 - 2020

Module Title Principles of Public International Law
Module Code LG526
School School of Law & Government

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Adam McAuleyOffice NumberC223
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is introduce students to public international law. In this module, students will discover the origins of international law, the development of international law, the different sources of international law, the bodies regulated by international law and important areas of public international law such as diplomatic protection, use of force and human rights. Students will learn about the relationship between public international law, international relations and domestic politics. Finally, students will learn to apply public international law to hypothetical and actual situations. We discuss topical areas of public international law such as the use of force against non-State actors and if the principle of self-determination contains an international legal right to secession.

Learning Outcomes

1. Discover the origins and evolution of public international law
2. Define public international law and identify sources of public international law
3. Question the role of States and international institutions in the development and application of public international law
4. Consider ways to reform public international law & the public international legal system
5. Assess the relationship between public international law and international relations
6. Apply public international law to a historical, current, or fictional international situation

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture222 hour lectures where class discussion is expected
Independent Study228Reading, researching and writing essay and answers to case study
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Defining Law & Public International Law
We define law and public international law before discussing the relationship between international relations and public international law.

Origins & Development of Public International Law
We discuss the origins and development of public international law to date in order to understand the nature of public international law and where it may go in the future.

Sources of Public International Law
We consider the different sources of public international law such as treaty, custom and general principles of public international law. We consider the role of international institutions in devising public international law.

International Legal Personality
We identify the entities that are recognised in the public international legal system, such as States, international institutions, human beings and national liberation movements. We also consider why certain entities are not granted international legal personality.

Principles of Public International Law
We consider the general principles of public international law and how these regulate the relationships between States and international institutions.

Relationship between Public International Law & National Law
We explore the relationship between public international law and national law by examining Ireland's legal system.

Jurisdiction & Immunity
We discuss how public international law regulates a State's control over its jurisdiction and the limitations imposed by diplomatic and State immunities.

We discuss the public international legal principles used to determine State ownership and control over territory.

State Responsibility
We identify and discuss the public international rules concerning State and individual responsibility for breaches of international law.

Peaceful Settlement of Disputes
We evaluate the diplomatic and legal methods employed by States and international institutions to resolve disputes between States.

Use of Force
We consider the role of the United Nations Security Council in authorising the collective use of force before considering a State's inherent right of self-defence and other justifications for the unilateral use of force.

International Human Rights
We evaluate the evolution of international human rights, the different types of human rights and a regional human rights treaty.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Kaczorowska: 2015, Public International Law, 5th, Routledge,
  • Cassese: 2005, International Law, 2nd, Oxford University Press,
  • Shaw: 2008, International Law, 6th, Cambridge University Press,
  • Mansell & Openshaw: 2013, International Law: A Critical Introduction, Hart,
  • Koskenniemi & Crawford: 2012, The Cambridge Companion to International Law, Cambridge University Press,
  • Baetens & Chinkin: 2015, Sovereignty, statehood and state responsibility: Essays in honour of James Crawford, Cambridge University Press,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
GDLLMGraduate Diploma in Law
MIRMA in International Relations