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International Organisations - LAWS8085
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: Academic Program must be either 9200, 9210, 5740, 9230, 9240, 5760, 9211, 5211, 9231, 5231, 9281, 5281, 9220 or 5750.
Excluded: JURD7585
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course will examine the principal issues concerning organisations composed of states. These include the legal status and powers of organisations, membership and participation, norm-creation, dispute settlement, enforcement of decisions, peace and security activities, and the organisations' privileges and immunities as well as their legal status and powers under national law.

At the same time, the course will also address such contemporary problems as the creation of an international criminal court, the "succession" of Russia to the USSR's seat on the UN Security Council, the response to the break-up of Yugoslavia, the new strategic concept of NATO, the jurisdictional issues in the Lockerbie-case, peacekeeping after an "Agenda for Peace", the success of the WTO dispute settlement, and the NATO action against Serbia in 1999, the military actions against Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003, UN measures against terrorism, and the question of responsibility of international organisations.

Primary consideration will be given to the development of the United Nations. Other universal organizations such as ILO, the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO or ICAO, as well as regional ones such as the Council of Europe, OAS, etc. will also be dealt with. This course does not try to provide a comprehensive picture of all of these organisations. Rather it aims at helping students to understand the common legal problems faced by international institutions.

LLM Specialisations

Recommended Prior Knowledge

None, but LAWS8180 Principles of International Law or equivalent is a recommended pre- or co-requisite.

Course Objectives

This course aims to:
  • Give students a basic working knowledge of the structure of international institutions
  • Assist students to develop an understanding of the tasks and functions of international organizations
  • Give students a deeper understanding of the powers and limits of international institutions
  • Develop an awareness of different methods of intergovernmental cooperation

Main Topics

  • Basic conceptes of the law of international organisations
  • Participation in and internal structures of international organisations
  • Rule-making by international organisations
  • Dispute settlement through international organisations
  • Enforcement of decisions by international organisations
  • Peace and security activities
  • Peacekeeping and UN administration of territory
  • International organisations and national legal systems - accountability issues


Class participation Preparation and engagement in class 20%
Final examination OR research paper
Exam - 3 hours
Research paper - 6,000 words

Course Texts

Jan Klabbers, An Introduction to International Institutional Law 2nd edition. Cambridge (CUP, 2009). (=Klabbers).
This is the only material which must be bought by all students.


  • C.F. Amerasinghe, Principles of the Institutional Law of International Organizations. Cambridge (CUP, 2nd ed., 2005) (=Amerasinghe).
  • Jan Klabbers (ed.), International Organizations. The Library of Essays in International Law. (Ashgate Dartmouth, 2005).
  • August Reinisch, International Organizations before National Courts. Cambridge (CUP, 2000).
  • Philippe Sands/Pierre Klein, Bowett's Law of International Institutions, 5th ed. London (Sweet & Maxwell, 2001)
  • Henry G. Schermers/Niels M. Blokker, International Institutional Law, 4th ed. (Brill, 2003).
  • Bruno Simma (ed.), The Charter of the United Nations. A Commentary. 2nd ed. Oxford (OUP, 2002) (=Simma).

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.