UCL Faculty of Laws


Law and Policy of International Courts and Tribunals (LAWS0375)

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

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This module deals with advanced foundations of these topics:

  • The requirements of general obligation under public international law to settle disputes peacefully.

  • The foundational aspects of contemporary understandings of the mechanisms available for international dispute resolution enumerated in United Nations Charter Article 33:.

  • 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 place which these mechanisms have in the international legal.

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). 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. The general issues will be explored with a particular eye to the role played by the law and policy of international courts and tribunals in relation to the Chagos archipelago.

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 Philippe Sands and Ruth Mackenzie.

Module syllabus

  1. Introduction. Historical background and Proliferation of ICTs

  2. Means of dispute settlement and general overview.

  3. Arbitration

  4. Appointment of international judges, independence and impartiality of international judiciary

  5. Jurisdiction, admissibility, applicable law

  6. Advisory opinions

  7. Third party intervention

  8. 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 and E De Brabandere, International Dispute Settlement (Cambridge University Press, 7th ed. 2022)

  • 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)

For the role played by the law and policy of internationalcourts and tribunals in relation to the Chagos archipelago, students will find helpful to read P. Sands, The Last Colony (Weidenfeld 2022).

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:22.5 credits (225 learning hours)
Convenor:Martins Paparinskis
Other Teachers:Ruth Mackenzie, Phillipe Sands
Teaching Delivery:

10 x 2 hour weekly seminars, 10 seminars per term, Term One

Who may enrol:LLM Students Only

not a prerequisite but prior knowledge of public international law is desirable

Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:

LLM in Environmental Law and Policy; 

LLM in Human Rights Law; 
LLM in International Law; 
LLM in Litigation and Dispute Resolution 

Practice Assessment:Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay per term
Final Assessment:2 Hour in Person Controlled Condition Exam (100%)