• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Development Studies, International Relations, Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in See Future Offerings
  • STEM Course

This course looks to critical approaches to international law, with focus on approaches from developing countries and indigenous peoples. Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) refers to the thoughts of developing countries regarding international law. Fourth World Approaches to International Law (FWAIL) refers to the concerns of indigenous peoples regarding international law. The course is intended to give students an introduction to both bodies of literature, with a broad overview of the major concerns, critiques, principles, issues, and applications of both. The course covers theory, policy, & practice, with attention to ongoing controversies and challenges in implementation.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Synthesise and apply knowledge and ideas within international law
  2. Review case law, legislation and scholarly writing as it pertains to international law
  3. Incorporate social, comparative or interdisciplinary approaches into legal analysis of international law
  4. Research and synthesise legal materials and other relevant sources to present a cohesive argument that addresses a legal question arising from international law
  5. Make original and reflective contributions to debates on theoretical, policy and practical issues relating to international law

Other Information

This course is research-led, with course content drawing on the specialist research interests of teaching staff. The course convenor, Jonathan Liljeblad, has extensive experience in both research and practice in international law, development, and indigenous rights. The course is highly interactive, with a range of activities that emphasise inquiry-based learning in which students investigate current issues and debates regarding international law. Course content also emphasises the need to uncover and understand the processes by which knowledge about people and places in the so-called developing world ("First World") is produced. Course content will present perspectives of international law from scholars, practitioners, and activists in developing countries ("Third World" or "Global South") and indigenous cultures ("Fourth World"). Assessment tasks have been designed to provide students with multiple opportunities to develop and demonstrate these skills.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Assessment 1 - Article Review (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Assessment 2 - Research Essay (70) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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.


  • Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
  • Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have three contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program course list

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a; Master of Laws (MLLM) and have completed or be completing both LAWS8182 Principles of International Law and LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; or Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing both LAWS8182 Principles of International Law and LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses and have completed or be completing LAWS6250 International Law; or Master of International Law and Diplomacy (MINLD) and have completed or be completing both LAWS8182 Principles of International Law and LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for appropriate permission.

Prescribed Texts

Scholarly journal articles accessible via ANU Library databases

Preliminary Reading

--Anghie, Antony. (2006) The Evolution of International Law: Colonial & Postcolonial Realities. Third World Quarterly 27(5): 739-753.

--Alfred, Taiaiake & Jeff Corntassel. (2005) Being Indigenous: Resurgences Against Contemporary Colonialism. Government & Opposition 40(4): 597-614.

--Bhatia, Amar. (2012) The South of the North: Building on Critical Approaches to International Law with Lessons from the Fourth World. Oregon Review of International Law 14(2012): 131-175. 

--Cirkovic, Elena. (2007) Theoretical Approaches to International Indigenous Rights: Self-Determination & Indigenous Peoples in International Law. American Indian Law Review 31(2007: 375-399. 

--Fenelon, James & Thomas Hall. (2008) Revitalization & Indigenous Resistance to Globalization & Neoliberalism. American Behavioral Scientist 51(12): 1867-1901.

--Fukurai, Hiroshi. (2017) Fourth World Approaches to International Law (FWAIL) & Asia’s Indigenous Struggles & Quests for Recognition Under International Law. Asian Journal of Law & Society 5(2018): 221-231.

--Ikejiaku, Brian-Vincent. (2013) International Law is Western Made Global Law: The Perception of the Third-World Category. African Journal of Legal Studies 6(2013): 337-356.

--Gathii, James Thuo. (2019) The Agenda of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), in Jeffrey Dunoff & Mark Pollack (eds.), International Legal Theory: Foundations & Frontiers. Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3304767  

--Lightfoot, Sheryl. (2008) Indigenous Rights in International Politics: The Case of “Overcompliant” Liberal States. Alternatives 33(2008): 83-104.

--Nursoo, Ida. (2018) Indigenous Law, Colonial Injustice, & the Jurisprudence of Hybridity. The Journal of Legal Pluralism & Unofficial Law 50(1): 56-70.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2022 $4740
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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
3522 03 Apr 2023 04 Apr 2023 14 Apr 2023 02 Jun 2023 Online View

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