Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedNot offered in 2014



The unit will focus on the prohibition on the use of force in international law and the circumstances in which the use of force is permitted - including reversion by States to the doctrine of self defence. Considerable attention will be devoted to the arguments raised by States in support of their recourse to the use of force and the validity of such arguments.


  1. To understand the rule prohibiting the use of force under the UN Charter and customary international law and the exceptions to this rule.
  2. To consider the circumstances in which the Security Council may authorise the use of force and the question whether this authorization has been misconstrued by States in some cases (such as Iraq, 2003).
  3. To consider the manner in which States have interpreted the right to use force in self-defence.
  4. To consider the question whether the prohibition on the use of force has any meaning today.


Take-home exam (3,750 words): 50%
Research paper (3,750 words): 50%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)