Fall 2019 - POL 344 D100

International Law (4)

Class Number: 7446

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Thu, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Shiva Olyaei
  • Prerequisites:

    Six lower division units in political science or permission of the department.



Sovereignty, nationality, jurisdiction, arbitration. Examination of selected cases exemplifying present trends in the international legal order.


International Law is the body of rules, principals, practices, and institutions devised by states and non-state entities to constitute relations among themselves. This body of law reflects the will of the states as well as other international legal personalities. As law became the preferred medium to construct relations in the 20th century, global affairs experienced vast development through law-making treaties and inter-state agreements with diverse effects on domestic laws and policies. The first World War was a turning point for rapidly expanding international law with significant theoretical and empirical ramifications.

The focus of this specific course and its exam is on public international law, however students will have brief introduction to both private and public international law. This course offers (1) a comprehensive introduction to international law and the legal system as well as (2) an exploration of selected substantive areas of international law. The first phase presents the fundamental concepts of international law, its history and sources. It surveys how this law is made and who is involved in its creation. The course examines the relationship between international and domestic law, as well as state sovereignty, responsibility and jurisdiction, recognition of states and the legal personality of non-state actors. In addition, this course explores the concept of nationality, protected persons and entities. The second phase of the course discusses critical perspectives on international law such as post-colonial, indigenous, feminist and third world approaches to international law as well as several substantive areas of international law including the United Nation, international human rights law, environmental protection, use of force and armed conflicts and finally International Criminal Court. Multimedia supplements will be introduced both in class and on the Canvas.

There will be one 3-hour seminar and one 1-hour tutorial each week.  Tutorials start Week Two


  • Midterm Exam (test) 30%
  • Tutorial Participation 10%
  • Tutorial Presentation 15%
  • Essay (3000-3500 words) 45%



Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law, Peter Malanczuk, Alexander Orakhelashvili, Michael Barton Akehurst, Routledge, 8th ed., 2018.
ISBN: 9780415243568


  International Law: A Critical Introduction. Karen Openshaw & Wade Mansell.  Hart Publishing, 2013.
ISBN: 9781849460972

Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law, James Crawford. Oxford University Press, 8th ed., 2012
ISBN: 9780199654178

  International Law, Malcolm N. Shaw, Cambridge University Press, 5th ed., 2003.
ISBN: 0521531837

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html