Seminar International Law in Practice (6 ECTS)
Lecturer: Prof. Dr M.M.T.A. Brus (coordinator)
When: Block 3
Brief course description: The practice of international law is the focus of this course. Students will be asked to investigate and report on concrete questions relating to international law that have arisen or may arise in international or domestic practice. Students will be assigned a role as legal advisor to a minister for foreign affairs, legal counsel at an international organisation, counsel for a party in an international dispute, independent consultant on international law, or any other role in which the ‘client’ expects an international legal advice in the context of a law-making exercise, dispute settlement procedure or policy making. Situations to be investigated may be taken from reality and be chosen in consultation with an existing institution or an individual practitioner, or be fictitious. Depending on the scope of the problem to be tackled the assignments will be individual or assigned to a group of students. The outcome of the investigation will be a report or memorandum to the ‘client’. Students will present the report orally to the ‘client’. The situations will focus on the application of international law to a concrete problem or situation rather than on theory or scholarly views on international law. Obviously, theory of international law can be relied on to support a particular interpretation of or position in international law. It is for the course instructor(s) to assign situations to students. The course may also take the form of a moot court exercise in which students represent their ‘client’ in court. In a moot court exercise students will be expected to write a memorial and to present their arguments orally before the court.
Teaching method: A specific situation will be assigned by the course instructor(s) to students individually or to a small group of students. Students will have to tackle the problem independently, but an academic tutor will be assigned to each student (group). The tutor or any other expert can be consulted with the aim of providing general assistance in analysing the problem, formulating the relevant legal questions and finding relevant sources. Students will meet at least twice during the course with their tutor to report on the progress and explain the problems they encounter before handing in their draft report. The tutor will provide feedback on the draft report at least a week before the final report is due.
Assessment: The assessment is based on the final report. If a report is written jointly by a group of students all members of the group will receive the same grade. The reports are graded on the basis of the following criteria: clarity of the analysis of the situation and the legal questions that are identified; identification and explanation of the applicable law; application and interpretation of the applicable law to the specific situation; conclusions and recommendations; sources used; use of references; bibliography; style of writing; use of the English language; and oral presentation of the report. The grades for the written memorial will be the same for all students representing the same client in a moot court exercise, but individual adjustments to the grade may be made on the basis of the oral presentation and the ability to answer questions from the members of the moot court.
*Official course information and schedules during the academic year can be found in Ocasys.
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