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 the full module or LAWSG056A
Core module for specialism: International Law
Practice Assessment: Students may produce written responses to tutorial questions and submit them for feedback.
Assessment method for LLM students: 2-hour unseen written examination
Module Overview

Module summary

This module surveys the law that is applicable during an armed conflict, or the jus in bello (often referred to as ‘International Humanitarian Law’). We will explore the distinction between international/non‐international armed conflicts; combatants/civilians/‘unlawful combatants’; and military and civilian objectives; and consider the applicability/application of weapons regimes (for example the Non-Proliferation Treaty).

Module syllabus

1. Introduction to the Law of Armed Conflict: General Concepts and History
2. Classification of Armed Conflicts and Commencement/Termination of Hostilities
3. Status Based Rules: Combatants and PoWs
4. Rules Governing Hostilities I: Military Objectives and the Principle of Distinction
5. Rules Governing Hostilities II: Civilians and the Principle of Proportionality
6. Rules Governing Hostilities Cont’d
7. Non-International Armed Conflicts
8. Weaponry
9. Individual Criminal Responsibility in War
10. Revision

Recommended materials

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

• Robert Kolb and Richard Hyde, An Introduction to the International Law of Armed Conflicts (Oxford Hart 2008)
• Dieter Fleck (ed), The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law (2d ed Oxford UP 2008)
• Leslie C Green, The Contemporary Law of Armed Conflict (3d ed Manchester UP 2008)
• Yoram Dinstein, The Conduct of Hostilities under the Law of International Armed Conflict (2d ed Cambridge UP 2010)

Students should also have to hand Adam Roberts and Robert Guelff (eds) Documents on the Laws of War (3d ed Oxford UP 2000)

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 students who wish to read in advance can also consult Lowe, above, Chapters 3 and 8, and are also advised to peruse some of the recommended materials and read the introductory chapters. A perusal of the Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, issued by the UK Ministry of Defence and published by Oxford UP (2004) is also highly interesting and will give students a flavour of the practice of the law of armed conflict.

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.