UCL Faculty of Laws


Law and Policy of International Courts and Tribunals (LAWS0235)

This module address cross-cutting law and policy issues that arise before international courts and tribunals (ICJ, ITLOS, inter-State arbitration, WTO AB, ICC, human rights courts, ICSID etc.).

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This module deals with:

  • The requirements of general obligation under public international law to settle disputes peacefully.
  • The historical evolution and contemporary understandings of the mechanisms available for international 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 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.

The module addresses certain cross-cutting legal and policy issues that arise before various international courts and tribunals (among other, International Court of Justice, International Tribunal Law of the Sea, inter-State arbitration, World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body, International Criminal Court, regional human rights courts, investor-State arbitration). The module does not provide classes that address each court or tribunal on its own in detail, and students are expected to do background reading in the first weeks to acquire basic familiarity with key features of these institutions.

There are no formal prerequisites for this module. Nevertheless, it is a public international law module, and a basic knowledge of public international law (sources, responsibility, actors), whether derived from earlier studies or other PIL modules at UCL, will be an asset.

The module is co-taught by the convenor, Martins Paparinskis, with Ruth Mackenzie  and Professor Philippe Sands.

Module syllabus

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

Recommended materials

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

  • C. Romano, K. Alter and Y. Shany (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication (OUP, 2014)
  • J. Merrills, International Dispute Settlement (Cambridge University Press, 6th ed. 2017)
  • Y. Tanaka, Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
  • R. Mackenzie, C. Romano, Y. Shany and P. Sands, Manual of International Courts and Tribunals (2nd edition, OUP, 2010)

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

Key information

Module details
Credit value:45 credits (450 learning hours)
Convenor:Martins Paparinskis
Other Teachers:

Ruth Mackenzie, Phillipe Sands

Teaching Delivery:20 x 2-hour weekly seminars, 10 seminars per term, Term One and Two
Who may enrol:LLM Students Only
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:

LLM in Environmental Law and Policy;

LLM in Human Rights Law;
LLM in Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Practice Assessment:TBD
Final Assessment:48 hour take home papers (100%)