LWMCPA-Global Architecture of Crisis, Conflict and Disaster Management

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Marie Aronsson-Storrier

Email: e.m.l.aronssonstorrier@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces students to the key concepts, legal principles, actors and institutions, which are central to addressing contemporary global challenges. It also introduces current global initiatives of law and policy relevance, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change 2015, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030. It explores possible definitions and parameters of core concepts and themes such as ‘crisis’, ‘conflict’, ‘disasters’, ‘sustainable development’, ‘disaster risk management’, and ‘climate justice'. It further identifies and examines legal regimes and the primary actors responsible for developing and promoting their legal principles of particular importance to contemporary global challenges.


The primary aim of the module is to equip students with the necessary foundational insights, knowledge, and understanding to be able to successfully complete their PGT programmes. In addition to exploring complexities, controversies, and even uncertainties relating to how key concepts are defined, the module examines which actors (particularly states, intergovernmental organisations, and non-state actors) influence and make law applicable to different forms of crises, conflicts, and disasters; introduces the notion of and explains the differences between formally binding (‘hard’) law and non-formally binding but often influential (‘soft’) law; and considers the roles of as well as relationship between global law and policy both generally and in the context of particular topics issues such as sustainable development, climate change, different conflict situations, internal displacement and refugees, and global health matters.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to: • Identify, understand, and explain key concepts and themes underpinning the programme. • Identify, understand, and explain foundational legal principles associated with the global legal framework governing different forms of crises, conflicts, and disasters, including those of specific legal regimes. • Identify, understand, and explain the different actors and their roles associated with developing and promo ting global law and policies, including for specific legal regimes. • Understand the relationship between global law and policy, including the significance of as well as differences between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ law.

Additional outcomes:

Given the fact that the module is orientated towards interactive teaching and independent study, it will encourage autonomy with regard to reflective critical analysis and debate of the legal and policy topics examined, as well as high-level oral and written communication skills. The module will also require students to prepare an oral presentation (individually or in groups) relating to issues examined during the module.


These outcomes are in addition to those listed in the School's ‘core skills statement’.

Outline content:

The course examines a number of significant global legal principles and policy initiatives relevant for responding to a spectrum of crises, conflicts, and disasters, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change 2015, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030. It considers a number of core concepts and themes underpinning the LLM/MSc programmes within the context of prevailing global law and policy initiatives. It further ide ntifies and examines a number of specific legal regimes, including the role and influences of the principal actors (especially states, intergovernmental organisations, and non-governmental organisations) associated with the development and promotion of related law and policy. 

Examples of the types of concepts, legal principles and policies that will be examined are:

  • Those underpinning the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change 2015 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030. 

  • Key concepts such as ‘crisis’, ‘conflict’, ‘disasters’, ‘sustainable development’, ‘disaster risk management’, and ‘climate justice’.

  • Different forms of legal actors, especially governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.

  • ‘International disaster la w’.

  • Global health law.

  • Regional frameworks governing disasters.

  • International humanitarian law.

  • International refugee law.

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 seminar classes of 2 hours each.

  • A formative feedback opportunity writing a professional briefing paper.  

  • A formative oral p resentation (individually or in groups) relating to issues examined during the module.

  • Students will be given an independent research assignment in the form of a written assessment relevant to one or more topics examined during the module. 

  • Students will also undertake the writing of a professional briefing paper.  


Where there are specialist programme lectures or events, or other Universit y seminars, relevant to these issues, students in the module will be encouraged to attend and be given the opportunity to discuss the issues with visiting academic presenters.

Contact hours:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Guided independent study: 180
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Report 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

• An assessed essay of 12 pages maximum (formatted in accordance with the School of Law’s Assessed Work Rules).

- A professional briefing paper of 3 pages maximum (formatted in accordance with the School of Law's Assessed Work Rules). Additional assessment criteria will apply for this part of the assessment.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will have the opportunity to submit a draft professional briefing paper of 2 pages maximum on which they will receive written feedback.

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):
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: 17 June 2020


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