LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Dr Kimberley Trapp
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 10 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: This module cannot be taken with LAWSG056, which is a full module or with LAWSG056B
Core module for specialism: International Law
Practice Assessment: Students may write up tutorial questions and submit them for feedback as a form of formative assessment / exam practice.
Assessment method for LLM students: 2-hour unseen written examination
Module Overview

Module summary

This module surveys the regulation of the use of force in international law (the jus ad bellum). It covers the regulation of recourse to force between States, and focuses principally on the United Nations Charter and subsequent developments. We will begin with a broad strokes historical overview, and then consider self-defence, the ‘war on terror’, enforcement measures taken by the UN, unilateral recourses to force and their legality, as well as ‘humanitarian’ intervention.

Module syllabus

1. Introduction to the course—1 hour seminar (repeated)
2. From ‘Just War’ to the UN Charter Prohibition of the Use of Force (and back?)
3. Use of Force in Self‐Defence I: The Armed Attack
4. Use of Force in Self‐Defence II: Temporal Element
5. The ‘War on Terror’
6. Collective Action against Threats to the Peace I: Non‐forcible Measures
7. Collective Action against Threats to the Peace II: Enforcement Action & Judging the Security Council
8. Humanitarian Intervention (and R2P)
9. State (and individual?) responsibility for violations of the jus ad bellum
10. Revision

Recommended materials

The first textbook on the list is preferred, but students remain free to choose.

• Christine D Gray, International Law and the Use of Force (3d ed Oxford UP 2008)
• Yoram Dinstein, War, Aggression and Self-Defence (4th ed Cambridge UP 2005)
• Thomas M Franck, Recourse to Force in International Law (Cambridge UP 2002)

Students should also have to hand the UN Charter, and the useful collections of materials in Malcolm D Evans (ed) Blackstone’s International Law Documents (9th ed Oxford UP 2009).

Preliminary reading

Students who have not taken any general module in Public International Law before are strongly advised to read a general textbook in advance of commencing the course. A concise and elegant textbook is Vaughan Lowe, International Law (Oxford UP 2007).

Other information: N/A
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now open.

Please refer to the How to apply section for information on the application process.