LWMIIA-Introduction to International Law

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne

Email: l.hill-cawthorne@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Introduction to International Law teaches the basics of international law succinctly, but to an advanced level. The module is designed to provide a starting point for students entering the LLM programme who do not already have a background in international law. The module covers the key features of the international legal system, such as the nature of the international law, treaties and other sources of international law, the subjects of the international legal system, dispute settlement and the establishment of state responsibility.  It also gives students the opportunity to put some of the mechanisms of the international legal system into practice, through interactive group exercises.


The module aims to expose students to the core ‘building blocks’ of international law.  As this is an introductory module, unlike most taught postgraduate modules, it largely is taught through a short series of targeted lectures. It aims to provide both a descriptive account of international law as well as offering students the elements to begin analysis and critique of the key features of the system. The module provides a starting point to give students core knowledge applicable to more specialised taught postgraduate modules in international law and to underpin the work on their dissertation.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

•    Demonstrate a substantive knowledge of international law gained through lectures and independent reading.

•    Debate the relative merits of legal claims made by states and other international legal actors.

•    Demonstrate an ability to engage with the processes of the international legal system, through interactive group exercises.

Additional outcomes:

Those skills listed in the School's ‘Core Skills Statement’.

Outline content:

The module will cover topics such as:

•    What is International Law?

•    The Sources of International Law, including the Law of Treaties

•    The Subjects of International Law 

•    State Responsibility

•   International Dispute Settlement

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module involves 10 hours of targeted lectures, introducing the key topics of international law.  It also involves two innovative tutorial-based interactive group exercises, relating to treaty negotiation and dispute settlement.  

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 88
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The module is assessed by an essay of 8 pages (formatted in accordance with the School of Law’s Assessed Work Rules).

Formative assessment methods:

Work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark:

Optional non-assessed essay (4 pages), feedback on group exercises.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

See School of Law PGT Programme Handbook.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 24 September 2018


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