• Class Number 1568
  • Term Code 3220
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr William Boothby
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 17/01/2022
  • Class End Date 03/03/2022
  • Census Date 28/01/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 18/01/2022
SELT Survey Results

Anyone who thought that the end of the Cold War would bring about a period of global peace and stability has suffered a series of rude awakenings throughout the intervening period. There have been, and continue to be, wars between states, civil wars within states and terrorist outrages that have shaken the very foundations of the nation state. Modern conflict is characterised by new weapons, new technologies, new environments in which to fight and new kinds of participants in the hostilities. The emerging, increasingly fragmented and rapidly changing notion of conflict challenges, and is challenged by, a body of international law that seems to have difficulty in adapting to these new developments.


This course will tackle the most pressing and controversial contemporary issues by looking at the problems that are posed, by considering the legal arrangements that are currently in place and by assessing whether these arrangements are adequate. The topics have been selected to enable students to grapple with important matters of international concern that are currently challenging policy makers, jurists, academics and others at the highest levels. The aim is to introduce students to strategic level decision-making with all its complexities and ambiguities.


The course is structured into ten lectures, taking a distinct topic within each lecture. In the associated seminars, course members will work through practical problems in sub-groups thereafter presenting and discussing their proposed solutions in the plenary setting. Some background understanding of international law as it affects conflict would be a desirable advantage, but the course can and will be taught on the basis of no prior knowledge.


The intended learning outcomes include the ability to think, discuss and formulate solutions at the strategic level, an understanding of the challenges posed by conflict in all its forms, an appreciation of the interaction of not always consistent regimes of international law and a recognition of the issues that arise from emerging technologies and ways of pursuing conflict goals.


Students undertaking this course are unlikely to see the world in quite the same light as they did before doing so.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Investigate and critically assess the changing approach to the conduct of hostilities and how it affects, and is affected by, international law.
  2. Critically reflect on the implications of how technological developments are likely to contribute to changes in the way wars are fought and the legal arrangements that determine which of these technologies will, and will not, be legally acceptable.
  3. Examine and assess the changing role of people in modern conflict and evaluate how the law impacts on such developments.
  4. Review and reflect upon contemporary approaches to targeting law and assess the implications of these for adherence to, and the viability of, the principle of distinction.
  5. Explore and analyse how the developing media and the law impose constraints on the ability of Commanders to operate effectively in the modern battlespace.
  6. Research and evaluate contemporary issues through critical analysis and develop proposed solutions via law and policy.

Required Resources

W H Boothby, Conflict Law, 2014, TMC Asser Press ISBN 978-94-6265-001-5; 978-94-6265-002-2 (eBook)

A list of additional materials will be available on Wattle to provide students with a list of texts from which to choose their own preferred additional reading and to assist with research.

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 This is a semi-intensive course that will be delivered Monday 17 January to Thursday 20 January 3pm-10:30pm Canberra time. The course is divided into ten equal sessions, each consisting of a lecture lasting approximately one hour and a seminar of similar duration. Topic 1: The Spectrum of Conflict Topic 2: Interacting technologies Topic 3: New weapons and future conflict Topic 4: Emerging approaches to war
2 Topic 4: cont. Topic 5: Civilianisation, depopulation of the battlespace and the role of people in conflict Topic 6: Detention operations
3 Topic 7: Controversies as to the application of human rights law during armed conflict Topic 8: The dangers associated with expanding the notion of lawful targets Topic 9: International manuals, their importance and status at law Topic 10: Command in the era of mass and social media and legal challenge
4 Topic 10: Cont Non-kinetic Ops and the Law Lecture International Law challenges out to 2040; Teacher-led discussion centred on pre-set problems; Outstanding questions, course feedback and introduction of essay topics

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Blog Post 1 10 % 18/01/2022 27/01/2022 1,2,3,4,5,6
Blog Post 2 10 % 19/01/2022 27/01/2022 1,2,3,4,5,6
Think Piece 20 % 21/01/2022 08/02/2022 1,2,3,4,5,6
Quiz 10 % 25/01/2022 * 1,2,3,4,5
Research Essay 50 % 03/03/2022 28/03/2022 1,2,3,4,5,6

* 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 Academic Integrity . 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 any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program. Students are expected to attend all classes.

If circumstances arise which are beyond a student’s control and they are unable to attend a class, the student should contact the Course Convenor in advance (where possible), so that the convenor can adjust their expectations in relation to numbers for that class. If it is not possible to give advance notice, students should send the convenor an email as soon as possible with evidence to support the reason for failure to attend.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 18/01/2022
Return of Assessment: 27/01/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Blog Post 1

Details of Task: The blog posts provide an opportunity for the student to reflect on their learning to date and discuss an aspect of the teaching that has sparked the student's particular interest. The preparation of the blog entry requires the student to have understood the material presented during the lecture, to be able to discuss an aspect of the material in writing relatively soon after the relevant teaching and to be able to explain the student’s reactions and opinions clearly.

Nature of Task: The blog posts are compulsory. Non-completion of this task will result in a 0 for this assessment task. 

Weighting: 10%

Word Limit: 600 words maximum

Due Date: 5pm, Tuesday 18 January 2022 to the relevant Discussion Forum in Wattle. Due to the nature of the task, late submission or extension is not permitted.

Estimated Return Date: 27 January 2022. 

Assessment Criteria:

  • Ability to discuss a point arising from the teaching clearly;
  • Understanding of the issues relevant to the point being made;
  • Understanding of the applicable law;
  • Recognition of whether there are alternative approaches to the issue being discussed;
  • Ability to articulate possible solutions or alternative understandings.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 19/01/2022
Return of Assessment: 27/01/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Blog Post 2

Details of Task: The second blog post must refer to and discuss one of the other student's first blog posts.

Nature of Task: The blog posts are compulsory. Non-completion of this task will result in a 0 for this assessment task. 

Weighting: 10%

Word Limit: 600 words maximum

Due Date: 5pm, Wednesday 19 January 2022, to the relevant Discussion Forum in Wattle. Due to the nature of the task, late submission or extension is not permitted.

Estimated Return Date: 27 January 2022.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Ability to discuss a point arising from the other student’s blog post clearly;
  • Understanding of the issues relevant to the point being made;
  • Understanding of the applicable law;
  • Recognition of whether there are alternative approaches to the issue being discussed;
  • Ability to articulate possible solutions or alternative understandings.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 21/01/2022
Return of Assessment: 08/02/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Think Piece

Details of Task: Student produces a think-piece of no more than 1,200 words including footnotes addressing a topic in the course that particularly interested the student. The think-piece is not intended to be a fully mature and researched piece. The think-piece demonstrates that the student has considered the material that has been taught, has developed a response on a specific issue and is able to articulate that response promptly.

Nature of Task: Compulsory

Weighting: 20%

Approval of Topic: The student chooses the topic.

Length: 1,200 word maximum including footnotes

Due: 10am, Friday 21 January 2022. Due to the nature of the task, late submission or extension is not permitted.

Submission: Task must be submitted to both a Turnitin and Wattle link on the course Wattle site.

Estimated Return Date: 08 February 2022.

Assessment Criteria:

a) Understanding of the Issues

  • addresses the topic and covers all the important points
  • explains clearly the cyber warfare law issue being discussed
  • demonstrates ability to discuss the issue briefly and to put forward clearly the student’s responses/thoughts about the issues raised.

b) Communication of Ideas

  • clear development of the issues raised in the chose topic
  • logical and well-organised discussion
  • ideas/paragraphs linked coherently

c) Analysis

  • originality of ideas
  • complexity and insight in dealing with theory/ideas
  • suggestions for change where appropriate
  • interdisciplinary perspective where appropriate

d) Presentation and style

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling
  • adherence to word limit

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 25/01/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


Details of Task: Students must answer 20 multiple choice questions to be completed within 60 minutes.

Nature of the task: Compulsory. Failure to participate will result in 0 marks for this task. If you experience unavoidable and extenuating circumstances and cannot sit the quiz at the due date and time, you should apply for an extension to the ANU College of Law team here:


The College will give you one opportunity to sit the quiz, at the same time one week later. This will be your final opportunity to sit the quiz. 

Weighting: 10%

Timing: The quiz will be available for completion within a 24 hour period. Once students start their quiz attempt, students will have 60 minutes to complete the quiz. The quiz will finish automatically after the 60 minutes. The quiz will close on the due date and any open attempts will be automatically submitted.

Release: 9am, Monday 24 January 2022 via WATTLE. Students will have 24 hour period to do this quiz, with a window of 60 minutes to complete the quiz once the attempt has started.

Due: 9am, Tuesday 25 January 2022 via WATTLE. Submissions after the due date (without an extension) will not be accepted.

Estimated return date: Once all students have completed the quiz.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 03/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 28/03/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research Essay

Details of Task: The Research Essay gives the student the opportunity to address a specific topic in some depth, to show that he/she has absorbed the taught material relating to that topic, to show that he/she has researched a range of approaches to that topic and is able to discuss them, to show that he/she can analyse a problem effectively and reach sustainable solutions expressed with clarity.

Approval of Topic: choice from a listing that will be available on the first day of the course.

Length: 3,000 words including footnotes

Due: 5pm, 3 March 2022. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Submission: Task must be submitted to both a Turnitin and Wattle link on the course Wattle site.

Estimated return date: 28 March 2022.

Assessment Criteria:

a) Understanding of the Issues

  • addresses the question and covers the salient, relevant and important points;
  • evidence of close consideration of the question and the research materials drawn on;
  • issues raised by the topic are clearly and concisely identified;
  • material chosen relates clearly to the topic and is analysed not just summarised or quoted extensively;

b) Communication and Development of Argument

  • shows a clear theme or argument;
  • argument(s) logical and well-organised;
  • ideas/paragraphs linked coherently; 

c) Argument/Analysis

  • originality of ideas and critical analysis of the material;
  • complexity and insight in dealing with theory/ideas;
  • suggestions for change where appropriate;
  • interdisciplinary perspective where appropriate;
  • addressing opposing arguments;
  • well-reasoned conclusions;

d) Research

  • research covering primary and secondary materials;
  • good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used;
  • use of theoretical material where appropriate;
  • range of research sources;
  • integration of material from research resources into the essay.

e) Presentation, style and referencing

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs;
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, content is interesting and engaging of reader;
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling;
  • full and accurate footnotes together with a bibliography;
  • style according to Australian Guide to Legal Citation where appropriate;
  • adherence to word limit.

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 test or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been given an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time is provided in writing. Please note that the revised due date is calculated by including weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date are penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the assessment task per 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.

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).

Dr William Boothby

Research Interests

Air Commodore Bill Boothby (Retd) served for 30 years in the Royal Air Force Legal Branch, retiring as Deputy Director of Legal Services in July 2011. In 2009 he took a Doctorate at the Europa Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder) in Germany and published ‘Weapons and the Law of Armed Conflict’ through OUP in the same year. His second book, ‘The Law of Targeting’, appeared with the same publisher in 2012. He has been a member Groups of Experts that addressed Direct Participation in Hostilities, that produced the HPCR Manual of the Law of Air and Missile Warfare and that produced the Tallinn Manual on the Law of Cyber Warfare. His third book, addressing Conflict Law, was published in 2014; the second edition of Weapons and the Law of Armed Conflict was published in March 2016 and in 2018 he has published, with Professor W Heintschel von Heinegg, a Commentary on the US DoD Law of War Manual. In December 2018 he published through CUP an edited volume on New Technologies and the Law in War and Peace. He teaches at the University of Southern Denmark, at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and at ANU. He lectures and speaks widely on international law issues.

Dr William Boothby

By Appointment

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