• Class Number 5560
  • Term Code 3040
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Esme Shirlow
    • Esme Shirlow
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 13/04/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 24/04/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 13/04/2020
SELT Survey Results

The course will focus on general international law, seeking to identify, in particular, the impact of the relevant norms on the conduct of international relations and national decision-making in this area.

Subject matter coverage will centre on those parts of general international law that are most essential in equipping candidates with the necessary knowledge and skills to tackle more specialised areas on international law: nature, function and sources of international law, relationship between international & domestic law, international agreements, and subjects of international law (including statehood & recognition).

Special emphasis will be put on developing the students' capacity to apply international legal norms in concrete settings, and the course will include problem-solving workshops.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define, explain, distinguish and apply the basic concepts and terminology of public international law;
  2. Define and distinguish amongst the variety of processes by which international law is formed and the roles played by the most important bodies and institutions involved in the international legal system;
  3. Define, explain and apply the principles of treaty law with respect to treaties and understand its relevance in the context of contemporary issues in public international law;
  4. Recognise and appraise the interaction between the international legal system and the Australian legal system, with a particular focus on the international law of human rights;
  5. Explain and demonstrate through particular cases the relevance of international law to current political and social developments at the international and national levels;
  6. Select and apply a range of approaches in written communication, and apply the critical thinking required to bring about creative solutions to complex legal problems on a world stage; and
  7. Use, interpret and apply a wide range of materials in both on-line and traditional media from international and national sources.

Required Resources

A reading list and electronic resources will be provided through the Wattle site.

There are a number of standard texts on international law that students may wish to consult for further reading or in the completion of your assessment tasks. They will be placed on reserve in the Law Library, and a list posted on the course wattle site.

The following are good starting-points for electronic research in international law, including: ANU Law Library, International Law and Foreign Law (part of the Weblaw project): http://libguides.anu.edu.au/international_law

- Australian Treaties Library: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/

- American Society of International Law, Electronic Information System for International Law: http://www.eisil.org/

- Oxford Reports in International Law http://opil.ouplaw.com/home/oril [also available via ANU Law Library]

- United Nations Documentation: Research Guide http://research.un.org/en/docs/

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

Extensions, late submission and penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Further information about the course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Part A: Nature, System and Actors Introduction to International Law, including the nature of the international legal system, and the role of states and other actors.
2 Part B: Sources of International Law Customary international law, including its formation and identification; Treaties, including formation and entry into force, interpretation, and validity,; General principles of international law Subsidiary sources of international law
3 Part C: State Responsibility An examination of the rules relevant to holding States responsible for breaches of international law, including rules on attribution and the consequences of breach.
4 Part D: International Dispute Resolution Introduction to dispute resolution mechanisms in international law, including arbitration and judicial settlement

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Contribution to Online Discussions 10 % 17/04/2020 24/04/2020 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Analytical Reflections 40 % 04/05/2020 11/05/2020 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Take-Home Assignment: Problem Question 50 % 26/05/2020 26/06/2020 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


For all courses taught in intensive mode, the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program and students are required to attend ALL classes (and all of each class). In exceptional circumstances, a student may be granted permission by the Course Convenor, in consultation with the Stream Convenor or Director, LLM Program, to miss some classes, provided:

(a) it does not exceed a maximum of 25% of the classes;

(b) permission is requested in advance; and

(c) the request is supported, where appropriate, by adequate documentation.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in a student receiving the grade of NCN (non-complete fail). The normal pressures of work or planned personal trips do not constitute exceptional circumstances to justify an exemption from full compliance of this policy.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 17/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 24/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Contribution to Online Discussions

Nature of the Task: During the online intensive, students will be provided a range of exercises and discussion questions through online fora on the Wattle page. During the intensive, students must make at least 4 posts into these fora which substantively engage with the issues raised for discussion and/or the contributions of others in the class in response to those questions. Each participant's contributions to the fora will be reviewed at the end of the class and a participation grade provided according to the below assessment criteria.

Weighting: 10%

Release/Due Date: Topics for discussion will be posted from the first day of the intensive (14 April 2020) to the last day (17 April 2020) and students can engage with those posts at any time over the course of the intensive. Contributions will be counted towards the participation mark until the final day of the intensive (17 April 2020).

Estimated return date: Approximately 1 week after the intensive

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding of relevant law and legal policy
  • Critical and analytical response to the topic
  • Structure and organisation of ideas
  • References to, and engagement with, relevant primary and secondary sources
  • Written expression, including use of legal terminology, proof-reading, grammar and punctuation

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 04/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 11/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Analytical Reflections

Details of Task: This task will comprise three prompts to which students will be required to develop three short (800-word) analytical responses. This task will assess students' ability to engage with the readings critically and reflectively, and to develop confidence in targeted legal research related to the materials covered in the course, providing students with an opportunity to plan and execute legal research and to present their findings in written form.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Non completion of this task will result in a 0 for this assessment task.

Weighting: 40%

Word limit: 2,400 words (Students will be given four prompts, with each response to be no more than 800 words in length, inclusive of footnotes in AGLC/OSCOLA format)

Release date: 17:00pm (AEST), 17 April 2020 via Wattle.

Due date: 17:00pm(AEST), 4 May 2020 via Wattle. Late submission without an extension is permitted, but a mark penalty will be imposed – see the policy below on extensions and late penalties.

Estimated return date: 2 weeks after submission

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding of relevant law and legal policy
  • Critical and analytical response to the topic
  • Structure and organisation of ideas
  • References to, and engagement with, relevant primary legal and secondary scholarly sources
  • Written expression, including use of legal terminology, proof-reading, grammar, and punctuation

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 26/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 26/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Take-Home Assignment: Problem Question

Details of Task: Take home assignment (completion of one problem-style question)

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Non completion of this task will result in a 0 for this assessment task.

Weighting: 50%

Word limit: No longer than 3000 words. No Bibliography is required for primary or secondary sources used in the take-home examination, but brief in-text references are required that are sufficient to identify the source (and the location of quotes, where these are used). References will be counted towards the word count.

Release: 09:00am (AEST) Friday 22 May 2020 via Wattle

Due date: 17:00pm (AEST), Tuesday 26 May 2020 via Wattle

Estimated return date: 2 weeks after submission.

NOTE: No extensions will be granted for the completion of this assignment. ALL students are expected to be available during the examination period to complete this assessment task. Failure to submit the assignment will result in a mark of 0. If a student experiences circumstances which, if the task were an exam, would entitle them to a deferred exam, the student should email enquiries.law@anu.edu.au supplying evidence and, if approved, the student will be able to defer the take-home assignment.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding of relevant law and legal policy
  • Critical and analytical response to the topic
  • Structure and organisation of ideas
  • References to, and engagement with, relevant primary and secondary sources
  • Written expression, including use of legal terminology, proof-reading, grammar and punctuation

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Esme Shirlow

Research Interests

Public international law, international dispute settlement, international investment arbitration

Esme Shirlow

By Appointment
Esme Shirlow
+61 2 6125 3483

Research Interests

Esme Shirlow

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions