Course Outline

LAW410 Public International Law

Course Coordinator:Justine Poon ( School:School of Law and Society

2023Semester 2


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


The course examines the law of nations - the nature of the international order and the rules that govern relations between States. This course will introduce you to the fundamental principles of the international order, the nature and sources of international obligations, and issues with enforcement and compliance. You will study a selection of major subject areas of international law including human rights, limitation of violence in armed conflict, responses to terrorism and international crimes, international environmental protection and international economic law and co-operation.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Learning materials – Asynchronous learning materials made available online. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Synchronous weekly 2-hour tutorials online 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Origins and Foundations of the International Community

Subjects of the International Community

Sources and Nature of International Obligations

Implementation of International Legal Standards and Australian Perspectives

Law of State Responsibility

Promoting Compliance with Law, Preventing Disputes and Enforcement

The Role of the United Nations

International Economic Law and Cooperation

The Protection of Human Rights

Legal Restraints on Violence in Armed Conflict

The Suppression of Internernational Crimes

Protection of the Environment

What level is this course?

400 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Conduct research in public international law using appropriate principles and methods including scholarly referencing and citations. Knowledgeable
2 Synthesise, interpret and apply relevant principles and approaches and broader interdisciplinary perspectives. Knowledgeable
3 Apply knowledge, critical thinking, analysis and judgment to generate appropriate and practical responses to complex issues and problems in public international law. Creative and critical thinker
4 Use effective written and oral communication skills. Creative and critical thinker
5 Demonstrate an informed understanding of the principles and operations of public international law. Knowledgeable

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


(LAW301 and enrolled in any Law Program) or (JST202 and enrolled in Program AR323)


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

By the end of week 4 of this course you will have received feedback in relation to your first assessment item. The tutorials offer discussion and feedback on your ideas. 

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Written Piece Individual 10%
Up to 3 pages
Week 3 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Oral Individual 40%
15 minutes
Week 7 In Class
All 3 Essay Individual 50%
2000 words
Week 13 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Research Plan
The goal of this task is for you to demonstrate your research skills in finding high quality sources on public international law, and to think through and discuss how you will approach Task 2.
Product: Written Piece
This is an individual written report which outlines your research plan for Task 2. It should include some initial topic analysis and discussion about your research methods.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Ability to conduct research in public international law, using appropriate principles and methods including referencing.
Application of knowledge, critical thinking, analysis and judgment to generate appropriate and practical responses to complex issues and problems.
Written communication and presentation.​
All - Assessment Task 2:Oral Argument: Recorded Video
This task will simulate an international law dispute. Students will apply their knowledge and skills to present oral arguments on behalf of a client in response to a problem question.
Product: Oral
Students will record a video presentation of their oral arguments in response to a problem question and upload this to Canvas, including submission of a transcript. This is an individual task and full details will be given on Canvas.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
​Research, synthesis and interpretation of relevant principles and approaches and broader interdisciplinary perspectives;
1 2
Application of knowledge, critical thinking, analysis and judgment to generate appropriate and practical responses to complex issues and problems;
3 5
Oral and written communication skills demonstrated through the presentation.
Demonstration of knowledge of the relevant international law and scholarly/policy debates.
All - Assessment Task 3:Research Essay
The goal of this task is for you to research, synthesise, interpret and apply relevant principles and approaches and broader interdisciplinary perspectives; apply knowledge, critical thinking, analysis and judgment and to communicate this knowledge effectively.
Product: Essay
Written essay
No. Learning Outcome assessed
​Research, evaluation and synthesis of relevant legal, factual and policy matters;
1 2
Critical thinking, analysis and judgment
Demonstration of relevant knowledge and understanding of the principles, institutions and operations of international law.
Effectively develops and supports arguments, drawing on credible sources in international law.
4 5
Effective written communication and presentation including referencing

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Donald R Rothwell, Stuart Kaye, Afshin Akhtar-Khavari, Ruth Davis, Imogen Saunders 2018 International Law 3rd Cambridge University Press

Specific requirements

This is an online course and the weekly tutorial activities are an essential part of developing your learning. A pre-recorded video presentation is also a part of the assessment. Please ensure you have access to computer equipment with microphone and video and a good Internet connection, or use USC's computer labs.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
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  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

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