• Offered by Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Sarah Heathcote
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Autumn Session 2014
    See Future Offerings

The purpose of the course is to examine the far-reaching changes that have occurred since the nineteenth century to the body of law governing recourse to the use of force (jus ad bellum). In 1945 the United Nations Charter prohibited States from resolving their international disputes by the threat or use of force except, subject to certain conditions, in self-defence, and established a system of collective security whereby the Security Council would take action in the name of the international community to maintain or restore international peace and security.

The Cold War obstructed the effective realisation of these provisions. As a result of Security Council paralysis and in order to protect perceived essential national interests, some States adopted expansive concepts of self-defence or other justifications for recourse to force of doubtful legality.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s led to a renewal of hopes that a system of collective security might function as originally intended. Those hopes have not been entirely fulfilled, but the concept of international peace and security has been expanded in the last few decades to embrace violations of human rights, denial of democracy, and urgent humanitarian needs, thus justifying collective action under Security Council mandates.

The course will not revisit in any great detail the normative content of self-defence, both individual and collective (in this regard students are encouraged to revise their LAWS8183 Advanced Principles of International Law materials), but will examine other contentious or sometimes overlooked issues: such as implied authorisations and intervention by invitation. More traditional topics, such as the doctrine of humanitarian intervention and the idea of a responsibility to protect (R2P) will also be considered.

Topics may include:

  • The history of the jus ad bellum: from the "Just War" theory to the United Nations Charter;
  • The scope of the prohibition: can it cover cybercrime? What is a threat? Who are the addressees of the prohibition?
  • Military intervention by invitation;
  • Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and so called implied 'authorisations' to use force;
  • The role of regional arrangements in the use of force;
  • Humanitarian intervention and the 'Responsibility to Protect'.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

At the conclusion of the course students will:

  • have a sound knowledge of the legal principles and rules governing the resort to force by States, illustrated by a number of cases;
  • be aware of the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter dealing with the use of force;
  • be aware of relevant practice in interpreting the United Nations Charter;
  • have assessed the legality of particular uses of force in the international community.

Other Information

Click here for fee and census date information

Indicative Assessment

Students must rely on the Approved Assessment which will be posted to the Wattle course site prior to the commencement of the course.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


26 Contact Hours (Intensive Delivery over 4 days)

Click here for current timetable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be active in academic program 7300 or 7312 or 7883 or 6300 or 7305 or 7309 or 7313 or 7310 or 7317 or 7318 or 7893 or 6317 or 6305 or 6309 or 6313 or 6310 or 6318 or 6303 or 6351 and have completed LAWS8182 and LAWS8183.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1626
2014 $2808
2013 $2808
2012 $2808
2011 $2778
2010 $2718
2009 $2670
2008 $2670
2007 $2670
2006 $2646
2005 $2298
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2916
2014 $3762
2013 $3756
2012 $3756
2011 $3756
2010 $3750
2009 $3426
2008 $3426
2007 $3426
2006 $3426
2005 $3234
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Autumn Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4691 10 Apr 2014 10 Apr 2014 25 Apr 2014 27 May 2014 In Person N/A

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