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: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Professor Philippe Sands
Other Teachers:
Ruth Mackenzie, University of Westminster


This module deals with:-

  • The requirements of general obligation under international law to settle disputes peacefully.
  • The historical evolution and contemporary understandings of the mechanisms available for dispute resolution enumerated in United Nations Charter Article 33: negotiation, inquiry; mediation; conciliation; arbitration; judicial settlement.
  • Legal and policy issues associated with the composition, functioning and powers of the permanent and ad hoc international courts and tribunals.
  • The respective advantages and disadvantages of these various mechanisms, the factors that influence their effectiveness.
  • The role and interests of the various disputants and interested third parties in proceedings before these mechanisms.
  • The place which these mechanisms have in the international legal order and their relationships to national bodies.


  1. Introduction. Historical background and Proliferation of ICTs
  2. Arbitration
  3. Diplomatic processes for resolution of disputes
  4. Appointment of international judges
  5. Independence and impartiality of international judiciary
  6. Applicable law
  7. Representation of the parties
  8. Jurisdiction I
  9. Jurisdiction II
  10. Admissibility [General]
  11. Admissibility: Indispensable third party
  12. Third party intervention
  13. Amicus curiae
  14. Evidence
  15. Provisional measures
  16. Powers of ICTs, including Remedies
  17. Interpretation, Appeal and Review
  18. Advisory opinions
  19. Relationship between international courts
  20. Review/revision

Background Reading (optional):

While there is no one textbook that covers all the material addressed in the module, there are three basic books now available that are recommended:

  • R. Mackenzie, C. Romano, Y. Shany and P. Sands, Manual of International Courts and Tribunals (2nd edition, OUP, 2010)
  • J. Merrills, International Dispute Settlement (Cambridge University Press, 4th ed. 2005)
  • J. Collier & V. Lowe, The Settlement of Disputes in International Law (Oxford University Press, 1999)

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 20 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Human Rights Law, International Law, Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Final Assessment: 3-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one practice essay

This page was last updated on 22 July, 2014


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

Information regarding applications for September 2015 will be updated on the website in September 2014.

IMPORTANT NOTICE : Updated 28 May 2014

The Home Office issued an update about the acceptance of ETS tests (including TOEFL). They have now confirmed that Higher Education students applying for a Tier 4 visa may use a TOEFL test taken after 17 April, if a Higher Education Institution is willing to use its academic discretion. For those students entering in September 2014, UCL will continue to accept the TOEFL even if it was taken after 17 April. However, if an applicant still needs to book a test then we recommend that they take an alternative test to TOEFL. Those who have already arranged to take a different test following the previous advice from the Home Office, we encourage you to go ahead with taking the alternative test.

The TOEFL test will continue to be accepted for 2014 entrants who have been asked to take an English language qualification as part of their offer condition, and do not need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.