LLM (Master of Laws) / PGDip
Public international law has traditionally been defined as the law that governs relations between states. Over the last half-century, however, non-state actors such as international organisations, individuals, transnational corporations and other business enterprises and peoples have increasingly been recognised as the bearers of rights or duties or both under international law. The LLM in Public International Law aims to provide a theoretical and practical understanding of this complex and ever-changing international legal order.
In Semester 1 the compulsory module in International Law provides a general introduction to the theoretical basis and main aspects of public international law, including questions of state responsibility, the law of treaties, international institutional law, the judicial settlement of international disputes and issues relating to armed conflict. In Semester 2 students are able to choose from a wide range of specialist topics within public international law, including the rapidly developing international criminal law, the protection of human rights, international humanitarian law as well as questions relating to corporate liability for human rights violations and the regulation of international trade.
Students studying for the LLM/PGDip in International Law are required to complete the double compulsory module in International Law (40 credits) and the single compulsory module in Advanced Legal Research Methods (20 credits) during the first semester.
In Semester 2, students can choose any three of the following options (20 credits each, totalling 60 master's-level credits):*
* International Human Rights Law
* International Criminal Law
* International Humanitarian Law
* International Refugees and Migrants
* European Union Law (taught in Semester 1)
* GATT Law
* Trade, Human Rights and Labour Standards
* International Environmental Law
* Independent Study Module
* International Labour Law
In addition, students studying for the LLM in Public International Law are required to complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic related to any aspect of public international law as agreed with the dissertation module leader. Full-time students will normally begin preliminary work on the dissertation in Semester 1 and formalise the topic and structure of the dissertation in Semester 2. The main work on the dissertation will normally take place from June to mid-August.
*Note that availability of options may vary from year to year.
Teaching, learning and assessment
A wide diversity of teaching methods are employed throughout the LLM programmes in order to provide a high-quality learning experience. These include, lectures, seminar discussions, individual and small group tutorials, case studies, and group and individual presentations. Particular emphasis is placed on skills training, with opportunities provided to acquire and practice legal reasoning as well as research and IT skills. Opportunities are also provided for extra-curricular activities such as the LLM student conference and the annual trip arranged for students to visit a range of international tribunals in The Hague. Assessment methods include coursework assessments and individual and group presentation assessments.
The Law Department gained grade 4 rating in the last Research Assessment Exercise.
All the members of the LLM course team are active researchers and encourage students to become involved in their respective areas of research by teaching specialist modules in which they have expertise and by supervising dissertations in their specialist subjects.