Faculty of Law

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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



Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.


Not offered in 2016


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see http://www.monash.edu/law/current-students/postgraduate/pg-jd-discontinuation-dates
For postgraduate Law unit timetables, please see http://law.monash.edu.au/current-students/course-unit-information/timetables/postgraduate/index.html
Previously coded as LAW7343


This unit first examines the prohibition on the use of force in international law and the exception of self-defence, including whether pre-emptive self-defence is lawful. It then considers the second exception, collective action authorised by the UN Security Council, the use of force by UN peacekeepers, and action by "coalitions of the willing". The unit analyses the right of a State to intervene in another State's civil war, the legality of humanitarian intervention, and the meaning and effect of the emerging doctrine of the responsibility to protect. Through study of the major international cases on the use of force, and the continuing disagreements among scholars, the unit reveals the complexities of these apparently simple rules.


  1. ) Apply knowledge and understanding of the rule prohibiting the use of force under the UN Charter and customary international law and the exceptions to this rule with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice or for further learning;
  2. ) Investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to the international law governing the use of force by States;
  3. ) Conduct research into the international law governing the use of force by States based on knowledge of appropriate research principle and methods; and
  4. ) Use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to the international law governing the use of force by States.


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

Workload requirements

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