International Institutional Law

Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
Jaar 2022/23
Vakcode RGMIR50906
Vaknaam International Institutional Law
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester I a (blok 1)

Uitgebreide vaknaam International Institutional Law
Leerdoelen The main objective of this course is to provide students with specialised knowledge of, and insights into, common concepts and institutional problems of international organizations (excluding the European Union), so as to allow students to critically assess the legal basis and legality of their decisions and activities.

After successfully completing the course, a student will be able:
- to relate and describe specific topics of the law of international organizations in relation to their regulation under international law more generally;
- to explain the key rules, principles and conditions pertaining to a number of specific topics within the law of international organizations;
- to interpret and apply key rules, principles and conditions pertaining to certain specific topics within the law of international organizations to the facts of a situation;
- to engage in academic debate on key issues within the law of international organizations.
Omschrijving Modern international governmental institutions and organizations started to emerge in the second half of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century. World War II sealed the fate of the League of Nations but spawned the birth of the United Nations and many other international institutions and organizations. The end of the 20th century has seen a new wave, with the creation of ad hoc and permanent international (criminal) tribunals and courts and the World Trade Organization. No one doubts that international institutions and organizations are essential for international cooperation, and one may expect to see expansion of their functions and activities in the years to come.
However, on the one hand, organizations are engaged in a continuous struggle to effectively pursue and fulfil their purposes within the specialised and limited nature of their competences and powers. On the other hand, the expanding scope of activities of for instance the UN Security Council and the implementation of its decisions by UN members raises questions as to the conformity of activities and decisions with international law in general, and in particular with human rights law, and has led to the discussion of for instance the organization’s international responsibility for (alleged) violations.

This course focuses on the institutional law aspects of the activities displayed by international organizations, in particular –though not exclusively– of the United Nations. Topics to be discussed include: international legal personality and applicable law; privileges and immunities; the admission and representation of States; normative acts, resolutions, (binding) decisions, recommendations and authorizations; voting procedures; express, implied, and inherent powers; enforcement powers; the internal division of powers, especially within the United Nations; the international responsibility of international organizations; the question of ultra vires acts; and review of acts of international organizations.

This course will be taught by way of lectures, in which various concepts common to different organizations will be introduced and critically assessed. Specific institutional problems and international controversies will be examined by reference to the law applicable within the particular organization or institution.
Uren per week 4
Onderwijsvorm hoorcollege
(14 2-hour lectures (gedurende het blok))
Toetsvorm schriftelijk (essayvragen) (digitaal)
Vaksoort m5-niveau, juridisch
Coördinator dr. mr. A.J.J. de Hoogh
Docent(en) dr. mr. A.J.J. de Hoogh
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
Additional documents and cases made available through the electronic learning environment Studentportal (Nestor)
Articles on selected topics, whenever possible made available through the electronic learning environment Studentportal (Nestor)
Elementary International Law / Elementair Internationaal Recht (T.M.C. Asser Press 2021) 9789067043656 ca. €  22,50
Nigel White, The law of international organisations, Third edition (Manchester University Press 2016)
978-0-7190-9774-4 ca. €  35,00
Reader with documents and cases, available at the Webshop and on Studentportal (Nestor)
  • This course is only accessible for students that have been fully admitted to a master's degree programme within the Faculty of Law.
  • Compulsory: Bachelor course on public international law.
  • This course is not open to non-law exchange students.
  • Not accessible for students who passed the course International Law 2 (Master level) before 1-9-07, or students who passed the course The Law of International Organizations before 1-9-11.
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
Exchange programme Law 1 semester I a optional
LLM International Human Rights Law 1 semester I a compulsory
LLM Public International Law 1 semester I a compulsory
Open Colleges 1 semester I a keuze