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PLT2050 - World Politics and International Law

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: TBA


Not offered in 2007


This unit introduces students to the complex and evolving relationship between world politics, broadly defined, and international law. The unit examines the connection between the development of modern international society and the rise of contractual international law, focusing on changing ideas of legitimate statehood and the relationship between international law and multilateralism. It then considers the role of non-state actors in the development and mobilisation of international legal norms. The unit concludes by reflecting on the impact of international law on the global political order, and its implications for the theory and practice of sovereignty.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify the major institutions involved in the international legal regime.
  2. Understand the role played by international law in aspects of contemporary politics, including human rights, environmental protection, the conduct of war, economic management and the status of the rights of indigenous peoples at international law.
  3. Describe the relationship between legal norms and political action.
  4. Explain critically the traditional and revisionist arguments about the impact of international law on the nature of sovereign states and on international relations.
  5. Discuss the basic jurisprudential principles that structure international legal discourse.


Essay (3000 words): 60%
Examination (1.5 hours): 30%
Tutorial participation: 10%

Contact hours

3 hours (2 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial) per week


A first-year sequence in Politics or permission.