LWMTDS-International Dispute Settlement

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Registered for a postgraduate programme in Law or selected MA programmes or with permission of the Director of PGT Studies in Law.
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Anne Thies

Email: a.thies@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The module aims at developing the legal knowledge and skills students need to understand and deal with international dispute settlement in its historical and political contexts. The module requires students to engage in discussion and written assignments, essential for both international practitioners’ work and in-depth studies of international law in its political context. The module helps students with some background in international law to contextualise their knowledge of different branches of international law. At the same time, the module aims to encourage students new to the field to analyse the political and legal framework in which states and other subjects of international law agree on their political and legal commitments and "enforce" each other’s international legal obligations. Moreover, the module covers the legal framework and tools for the resolution of disaster related disputes (e.g. the use of international courts and tribunals, domestic courts and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms).

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

  • apply, analyse and evaluate the theoretical and normative framework of dispute settlement mechanisms that are available to states and other subjects of international law;
  • critically assess the role and dis/advantages of the different diplomatic and (quasi-) judicial means of international dispute settlement in contemporary international law;
  • identify, compare and contrast legal and policy issues related to the composition, functioning and powers of international judicial bodies, their differences, similarities and overlapping/competitive jurisdiction in different areas of international law.
•critically assess the suitability of the current legal framework and tools for the resolution of disaster related disputes.

Additional outcomes:
In addition to those listed in the School’s "core skills statement", the module will encourage the development of:

  • High-level oral communication skills through reflective, analytical class-discussion
  • High-level writing skills through close and critical analysis of both primary and secondary source material
  • An ability to apply theoretical and contextual knowledge to practical problems that face people working in the field

Outline content:
The nature of international disputes as well as the role and dis/advantages of international dispute settlement mechanisms (e.g. negotiation, mediation, inquiry, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement) are explored. International treaties, cases and other legal, political and academic material are used to allow an in-depth study of international dispute settlement, its practical and theoretical implications and the specific characteristics of individual dispute settlement methods. Moreover, the module links the general background to international dispute settlement to the particular context of how the international legal framework and tools for the resolution of disputes helps addressing post-crisis challenges. Looking at the law and policy of international judicial bodies, the module addresses complex political and legal questions of increasing relevance for the relations between states, such as "forum shopping" and "compliance and enforcement". The impact of international dispute settlement on the development of international law will also be considered.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching in this module is designed to provide students with a range of resources on which they can draw in their learning. The main elements are:

  • A list of required and recommended readings, with notes and questions that will be used to guide class discussion and reflection.
  • Ten weekly seminar classes of 2 hours each. These are discussion-based classes and groups usually have between 5 and 12 students.
  • Optional non-assessed work that will be used to develop students’ skills and knowledge.
  • An electronic discussion board will be available for students enrolled in this module.
Where there are Faculty seminars relevant to the area then students in the module will be encouraged to attend and given the opportunity to discuss the issues with visiting academic presenters.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Other information on summative assessment:
1 assessed essay of 15 pages (formatted in accordance with the School of Law’s Assessed Work Rules)..

Formative assessment methods:
Students will have the opportunity to submit an essay plan to the Module Convenor prior to submission of the assessed essay.

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

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
See School of Law PGT Programme Handbook

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 December 2016

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