Volume 2018/2019

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 law-making. In turn, these questions open the debate on a number of legal issues, such as legitimacy and accountability. This course intends to give a deep theoretical and practical view on the making of international law, including informal law-making and regime interaction and the interplay with international relations.

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 the bachelor course on Public International Law, which is a more general basic 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.

Learning Outcome

By the end of the course, students:

1. Will adquire deep knowledge on how international law is made: actors, processes and instruments;

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

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

4. 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 (synopsis).

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.
The course does not require that students have followed any specific courses beforehand, however having some knowledge of international law is advantageous. 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.
To achieve the learning objectives of the course a number of activities will be carried out along the course. Besides participatory lectures, where debate will be encouraged, the course will include student presentations of assigned topics, case studies, problem solving and group discussion exercises in class. These activities will cover both group work and individual work. Therefore, it is recommended that students attend classes and engage actively in class.
Related subjects (any related courses or related subject areas):
BA Public International Law, MA International Organizations
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

To ensure that the learning objectives of the course are achieved a number of activities will be carried out along the course (for example oral presentations and group discussions) so as to ensure that the students get continuous feedback from the lecturer on their lerning process. When possible feeback from other students will be encouraged and facilitated.

The final feedback will be provided at the exam.

Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Oral exam based on synopsis, 20 minutes
Exam registration requirements

In order to attend the oral examination, it is a prerequisite to hand in the synopsis before the specified deadline.
The deadline is agreed upon with the course lecturer.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Week 50, 2018 - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday


Week 4, 2019 - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • Total
  • 412,5