Fall 2022 - POL 344 D900

International Law (4)

Class Number: 6131

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SRYC 3250, Surrey

  • 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.


What is international law? Is international law ‘really’ law and does it really matter in the conduct of global affairs? Why do sovereign states create a set of legal rules to govern international behaviour but choose when to abide by these legislations? This course introduces students to a study of the theory and practice of public international law. Our weekly lectures will be presented in three sections. Section One begins by studying the origins, nature, scope, and sources of international law. We will also discuss core debates surrounding the substantive relevance, legitimacy, representativeness, and applicability of international legal rules, norms, and principles. Section Two examines the power and functions of modern institutions of international law as a framework for international cooperation and the adjudication of international disputes. It will further analyze the roles of inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, established by private individuals, multi-national corporations, and charitable organizations in the creation and enforcement of international law. In Section Three, we will discuss the efficacy and relevance of major international legal rules created to govern various issues and concerns in international relations, including global peace and security, the use of force, territoriality, state responsibility, international criminal justice, diplomacy, global trade, migration, human trafficking, human rights, self-determination, the environment, and international development.

Schedule: There will be a 3 - hour seminar each week. Each class will start with an introductory lecture, followed by student presentations, and discussions. Students are expected to read the assigned lecture and presentation texts for each week before class.


Students will acquire the requisite knowledge to:

  • Understand the core concepts, debates, principles, and institutions of international law.
  • Identify and understand the roles of various actors involved in the enactment and enforcement of international law.
  • Apply relevant international legal principles to address historical and contemporary problems in international relations.
  • Critically analyze the intricate interconnections between politics, law, and society.


  • Class participation 15%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Research Proposal 10%
  • Research Essay 25%
  • Take Home Exam 30%



There’s no required text for this class. All lecture readings are available on canvas.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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