Philosophy of International Law (LAWS5175)


This course examines and evaluates traditional theories of law through the lens of their deployment in the changing context of world society and global governance. It has been supposed that there is no difference in kind between the law internal to a state, and that which exists in the global arena. But the rapid development of norms and institutions used in global governance over the last half century has cast doubt on this assumption. The course surveys leading theories of law and attempt to apply them to the vast and evolving array of international law-related activity. Topics include the nature and role of customary law, enforcement and compliance, transnational authority, 'hard' and 'soft' law, human rights, and international responsibility, among others.

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Further unit of study information


2x2hr seminars/wk


Class participation (10%), 1500wd mid-semester report (30%), and 4000wd essay (60%)

Faculty/department permission required?


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Additional Information

This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence/Part 3 requirement of the JD

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.