Volume 2016/2017

Aim: This course aims to provide master students from law and other disciplines (such as political science) with a deep theoretical and practical understanding of how international law is made. In a context of fragmentation and specialization of international law, the number of fora, processes, actors and instruments involved in international law-making has expanded. This reality requires of new frameworks and nuances of normativity to take account of the complex myriad of the international lawmaking. In turn, these questions open the debate on a number of legal issues, such as legitimacy and accountability. This course intends to give a theoretical and practical view on the making of international law, including informal law-making and regime interaction. The course’s goal is to broader and deeper student’s knowledge of public international law and international law-making and to supplement other bachelor and master courses offered by the faculty of law, such as International Law, which is a more general course, and International Organizations, which focuses mainly on courts and tribunals.


The course is divided into four parts:

The first part is an introduction to international law and international law creation, reviewing principal contemporary theories and concepts of international law, as they apply to law-making. This part introduces students to the main literature and theoretical debates and complexities in the area.

The second part of the course delves into international law-making by studying in depth both formal and informal law-making so as to provide the student with a broader and contemporary framework.

The third part explores regime interaction in international law, with a focus on the law-making stage. The last part of the course zooms in how international law is made in main issue-areas and provides the student with case studies to showcase examples, where the framework provided by the course can be applied.

This last part includes a session where students will present and discuss actively.


OPENING: Session 1 - Introduction to the course. Setting expectations. Assignment of presentations for the course. 

Part I: INTRODUCTION: (Sessions 2-5)

Session 2 - Introduction to International Law and International Organizations. International Institutional Law

Session 3 - The making of international law: contemporary theories (I)

Session 4 - The making of international law: contemporary theories (II)

Session 5- International Law and International Relations theory



Session 6 - International Law-Making : Actors

Session 7 - International Law-Making : Processes

Session 8 - International Law-Making : Instruments

Session 9 - International Law-Making : Courts and Tribunals

Session 10 - Informal International Law-Making (I): Conceptual Approaches and Legal Nature

Session 11 - Informal International Law-Making (II): Impact and Limits

Session 12 - Informal International Law-Making (III): Accountability



Session 13 - Fragmentation of International Law and Regime Interaction

Session 14 - Regime Interaction in creating, implementing and enforcing international law

Session 15 -Transactional and Relational Interactions

Session 16 – The consequences and management of regime interaction.

Session 17 – A framework to promote regime interaction. Legitimacy.



Session 19 – Law-making at the UN

Session 20 – Trade Regime

Session 21- Environment

Session 22- Climate Change

Session 23 - Case Study 1: The regulation of fisheries. Case Study 2: The regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and maritime transport.

Session 24 - Student Presentations CLOSING

Session 25 – Closing of the Course. Conclusions and sum up session with a workshop discussion exercise + questions on the written exam

Learning Outcome

By the end of the course, students:

•will be able to understand the multiple dimensions of international law-making and present and explain its complexity and challenges

•will be able to apply the theory and knowledge of international law-making to particular issue-areas.

•will be able to discuss and critically reflect upon international law-making both at the theory and the practical level, exploring their own critical thoughts in the written essay.

The mandatory readings and materials have been selected so as to provide the basic information and knowledge for the issues covered by the course. The readings and material will comprise approximately 500 pages. These material are enough to achieve the learning goals of the course. However, supplementary (optional) readings and materials to further into the topics covered by the course will be provided. Book chapters and articles (to the extent that is possible according to copyright rules) and legal material and cases will be compiled and uploaded at Absalon.

Some of readings for the course are selected from the following books:

•Boyle A. and Chinkin, C., The Making of International Law, 2007

•Klabbers, J., International Institutional Law, 2011

•Schermers, H.G. and Blokker, N.M, International Institutional Law, 2011

•Hurd, I., International Organizations, 2011

•Pauwelyn, J et al Ed. Informal International Law-Making, 2012

•Young, M. Regime Interaction in International Law, 2011

•Young, M. Trading fish, saving fish, 2010

•A compilation of academic articles, conventions and other material relevant to the course. (Distributed through Absalon)

The course is intended for both Danish and non-Danish students, which must have sufficient level of knowledge of English. Students from non-legal background are also welcome.
Besides participatory lectures, the course will include short student presentations of assigned topics and group discussion exercises in class. Therefore, it is recommended that students attend classes and engage actively in class. Grades will be assessed through a written exam on a given topic (an essay of 3000 words aprox).
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 364,5
  • Seminar
  • 48
  • Total
  • 412,5
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Exam date: December 16, 2016


Please see "Academic calendar" on KUnet.