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Settlement of International Disputes - JURD7388
 Science students

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Enrolment Requirements:
36 UOC completed in Juris Doctor Program (9150)
Excluded: JURD7782, LAWS3188, LAWS8082
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


Disputes are as much an inevitable part of relations between States as they are of relations between individuals. This course addresses the methods and institutions for the resolution of disputes between States and between States and other actors in the international system.
This course focuses on the intersection of international law and dispute resolution – the settlement of disputes between States and between States and other actors in the international system. Disputes may arise in a number of contexts: territorial disputes; issues of state responsibility; trade and economic disputes; violations of human rights and international humanitarian law; and in the law of the sea. First, this course examines the obligations of States to settle disputes peacefully. It then considers the methods and institutions that can be used to resolve disputes, including political and legal, formal and informal, and permanent and ad hoc mechanisms. There is a particular focus on the practice and procedure of the International Court of Justice.
While there will be some opportunity for practical application of the material studied in this course, it is not a mooting course. It is, however, recommended for those students considering participating in the International Law Competitive Moot course (LAWS3086).

Recommended Prior Knowledge
LAWS3381 or JURD7481 Public International Law or equivalent is a recommended pre-requisite.

Course Objectives
  • To develop an understanding of the unique dynamics of disputes between sovereign states in the international system
  • To be familiar with the principles of international law that create the obligation upon states to peacefully resolve international disputes
  • To examine and critically assess the various settlement mechanisms available for resolving, in a peaceful manner, disputes arising between states.
  • To develop awareness of the appropriateness of particular settlement mechanisms to particular disputes
  • To apply skills of conflict analysis to international scenarios.
  • To develop an awareness of academic literature in the field, including critiques of the proliferation of international judicial bodies.

Main Topics
  • Obligations in international law to settle disputes peacefully, including obligations contained in the United Nations Charter and specific international agreements.
  • The institutional and ad hoc mechanisms available for state-state dispute settlement, including conciliation, good offices, mediation, fact finding, inquiry, and adjudication.
  • The role of non-state actors in international disputes.
  • Case studies of particular disputes or institutions, including the settlement of trade disputes in the World Trade Organisation, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the 2000 Tokyo Women’s Tribunal.
  • Systemic issues in international dispute settlement, such as the availability of enforcement mechanisms; regionalism and the consequences of the increasing number of judicial bodies.

Class Participation – 15%
Case Study - 25%
Essay - 60%

Course Texts

JG Merrills, International Dispute Settlement (5th edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2011).

Refer to the course outline which will be provided by the lecturer at the beginning of the relevant semester.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.