With globalisation international law is becoming increasingly important and this course prepares you for your future career in the international arena. Our LLM is one of the oldest and most popular courses in international law in London. It attracts students from every nationality and background, not only those who have previously studied law, but also those with a degree in political science, international relations, economics or other relevant discipline. This creates a uniquely vibrant and stimulating learning environment in which to study international Law.
The LLM International Law is linked to our Research Group, International Law at Westminster, which regularly organises public events on topical issues: we recently organised panels and conferences on nuclear proliferation, torture, and citizenship deprivation. We encourage all our students to get involved in the activities of the center so that they can build contacts with leading professionals. Our location, just off Regent Street also puts you within easy reach of all the main legal and political insitutions and organisations giving you fantastic networking opportunities.
Every year, the Oxford University Press Prize is awarded to the best LLM International Law student.
The course will enhance your understanding of the key principles of public international law, the main developments within the public international law framework and the process of globalisation and its significance for international law.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.
The Dissertation module enables you to gain a deep knowledge of the concepts and principles of international law. You will need to agree the topic with the module leader, and it must not replicate materials covered in other areas of your coursework, or comprise work submitted for any other award. The Dissertation will help you to develop your powers of analysis, synthesis, application and evaluation, and your advanced research skills. It will also introduce you to legal practical research skills and the range of specialist resources available for studying your chosen area.
PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW
You will analyse the sources and subjects of international law, state responsibility, and the implementation of international law into municipal law, and gain an overview of the defining legal principles of international relations. You will also focus on the settlement of international disputes and the enforcement of international law. The module will help to develop your general transferable skills, including oral and written communication, independent study, time management, research, and problem solving.
International and European Refugee Law
This module focuses on the root causes of forced migration, the changing meaning of the term ‘refugee’, and its legal definition. You will examine the protection afforded to refugees in international law, the role of the UNHCR, and regional refugee protection regimes.
International Energy and Climate Change Law
This module will introduce you to the principles of international law relevant to the development and use of energy resources. You will examine the principles relating to permanent sovereignty over natural resources, ‘shared’ resources and resources outside areas of national jurisdiction. You will also consider the impact of other principles of international law on the energy sector, such as international environmental law, foreign investment and trade law, and human rights. The module has a strong focus on the evolving international legal framework on the mitigation of climate change, and its impact on international energy law and policy.
International Human Rights Law
The module introduces you to the protection of human rights in international law. You will gain an overview of the historical and philosophical background of human rights, and a greater understanding of the protection of human rights at the international level though the UN and regional systems (with particular emphasis on Europe). You will also study contemporary issues in international human rights law, such as humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, terrorism and torture.
International Humanitarian Law
This module covers the regulation of the rules and customs of war, including the status and protection of prisoners of war, the protection of civilian populations, the use of certain weapons, the status of combatants and belligerents, and the criminal consequences of the violations of the laws of armed conflict. You will gain a deep knowledge of international humanitarian law, and a thorough understanding of practice and law relating to key concepts, such as prisoners of war, combatants, protected persons, neutrality and war crimes. New forms of warfare, such as cyber warfare and drones, are also addressed.
International Law and Development
You will study law and policy relating to international development, including the right to development in international law, international development assistance and poverty alleviation, and law and policy relating to overseas development assistance in the UK and the EU. The module will give you a greater understanding of the global challenges for development, and will give you the skills to undertake informed policy and advocacy work internationally.
International Law of the Sea
This module will introduce you to the comprehensive legal framework of the international law of the sea. You will examine the various maritime jurisdictional zones recognised in international law, including principles relating to the territorial sea, archipelagic waters, international straits, contiguous zone, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone, high seas, and deep seabed. The module also considers the resolution of competing claims to maritime areas and resources, and focuses on concerns arising from human use of the oceans, such as maritime security and piracy, exploitation of offshore resources, fisheries management, the conservation of marine biodiversity, and marine pollution.
Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes
You will be introduced to the various techniques and institutions available in international law for resolving disputes between states. This module examines diplomatic means of dispute settlement, including negotiation and mediation, and legal means of dispute settlement – arbitration and adjudication. You will also consider the availability of alternative mechanisms for the resolution of inter-state disputes, and the range of international courts and tribunals that now exist. The module refers to specific past and pending cases and disputes, and there will be a special emphasis on the law, practice and procedure of the International Court of Justice.
Research Theory and Practice
This module introduces you to the general concepts of legal and social scientific (empirical) methods of research, and develops your understanding of the principles of advanced research. You will consider the relevance of these methods for the study of law, as well as gain an understanding of the legal, social scientific and philosophical debates on methodology. It will also enable you to evaluate your own work and that of other researchers.
United Nations Law
This module covers the institutional and legal aspects of the United Nations. In particular, you will focus on: the composition and functioning of its main organs (Security Council, General Assembly, Secretariat, International Court of Justice, Economic and Social Council, Human Rights Council); membership of the UN; the provisions of the Charter dealing with the use of armed force; the collective security system; and peacekeeping operations.
Please note that option modules are subject to student demand and staffing availability, therefore not all modules will be offered in the same academic year.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW
This module examines the theory and practice of international criminal law including the basic principles of international criminal jurisdiction, and the personal and functional immunities. It also involves a detailed assessment of a range of specific international criminal offences including war crimes, crimes against humanity as well as genocide. Lastly, the work of the ad hoc international tribunals, the mixed courts and the International Criminal Court is discussed in detail.
*Subject to approval
On completion of the course, you will be able to specialise in a wide range of careers or academia. Graduates have worked for organisations such as Amnesty International, the United Nations, or in legal departments within international organisations and governments. There are also opportunities for further research or teaching.
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Last updated November 10, 2017