JJUA54059U Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes

Volume 2015/2016

Peaceful settlement of international disputes is crucial in the international community. As the use of force is prohibited in international law, it is only logical that any disputes between States must be settled exclusively by peaceful means. Thus the peaceful settlement of international disputes occupies a central place within public international law. Against that background, this course is designed to introduce students to the various techniques and institutions for peaceful settlement of international disputes between States in public international law. To this end, first, this course will examine diplomatic means of dispute settlement. Second, this course will discuss legal means of dispute settlement. Special emphasis will be on the law and practice of the International Court of Justice

I. Introduction: (i) definition of international disputes, (ii) the range of means of dispute settlement.
II. Diplomatic Methods of Dispute Settlement: (i) negotiation, (ii) mediation, (iii) inquiry, (iv) conciliation, (v) dispute settlement by the United Nations
III. Legal Methods of Dispute Settlement (1) Arbitration: (i) selections of forms and arbiters, (ii) terms of reference, (iii) basis of decision, (iv) effect of the award.
IV. Legal Methods of Dispute Settlement (2) International Court of Justice: (i) structure and composition, (ii) the Court’s jurisdiction, (iii) procedure, (iv) preliminary objections, (v) provisional measures, (vi) third States intervention, (vii) non-appearance, (viii) interpretation and revision of judgments, (ix) effect of the decision, (x) enforcement of judgement, (xi) advisory proceedings, (xii) interrelationship between the ICJ and Security Council
V. Special Issues: development of other international courts and tribunals

Learning Outcome

1. To critically analyse essential issues concerning various means of the peaceful settlement of disputes between States,
2. To critically analyse key issues associated with international courts and tribunals, mainly the International Court of Justice.

Essential Reading: J.G. Merrills, International Dispute Settlement, Fifth edition (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Total required reading is approximately 500 pages.

Teaching will be an inter-active lecture.
Provisions on form requirements can be found in the exam catalogue on the online Study Pages.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Practical exercises
  • 8,5
  • Preparation
  • 241
  • Seminar
  • 25,5
  • Total
  • 275,0
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Spring term: Individual written assignment.
Essay assignment of the number of 23,400 characters, which is equivalent to approximately 4500 words in English. The essay topics will be suggested approximately 5 weeks before the deadline.

Spring term re-exam: Assigned individual written assignment, 1 day.

Summer Course term (ordinary and re-exam): Assigned individual written assignment, 1 day.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Spring: May 27, 2016

Summer Course: August 1 - 2, 2016


Spring: August 1 - 2, 2016

Summer Course: August 23 - 24, 2016


Criteria for exam assesment

In order to be given the mark 12, the student must be able to:

Present and explain the theoretical and practical problems of the course subject 
-  Identify all relevant legal issues
- Identify all relevant treaties, customary law, general principle of law, and international decisions
- Analyse relevant issues within the course subject based on various relevant and professional approaches
- Make a critical weighting of the relevant arguments and make a reasoned choice in relation to theoretical and practical solutions 
- Structure the work so that statements, arguments and conclusions flow coherently and logically
- Put into perspective the specific issues of the course subject in a way that shows that she/he has a professional breadth of view in relation to and knowledge about the course subject 
- Propose an appropriate synthesis and conclusion with respect to facts, issues, law and solutions
- Conduct a thorough and planned library research
- Demonstrate the ability to do research independently and autonomously
- Communicate and formulate her/his knowledge and arguments professionally and linguistically correct and in a way that is structured and coherent.