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Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction - LAWS8102
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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:
Pre-requisite: Academic Program must be 9200 or 9210 or 9230 or 5740 or 9240 or 5760 or 9211 or 5211 or 9281 or 5281 or 9220 or 5750.
Excluded: JURD7402
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course will cover the treaties and other normative regimes which comprise the international legal framework for regulating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This will include, inter alia, coverage of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, The Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Biological Weapons Convention and their associated verification and export control regimes.
Additionally, the course will consider state policies relevant to the proliferation of WMD and to the non-proliferation legal framework. These will include deterrence and containment strategies, counter-proliferation policies such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, materials control and security programs, economic sanctions, and pre-emptive military action.

LLM Specialisations

Recommended Prior Knowledge

This course builds on basic international legal knowledge provided by the course LAWS8180 Principles of International Law. Students who have not completed this course or a similar course may be expected to do some preliminary and additional reading to ensure that they have the necessary background to benefit from this course.

Course Aims

Students will understand the sources of international law regulating WMD proliferation, and the policies of states which are relevant to them. Students will be prepared to meaningfully engage in law and policy analysis, and participate in law and policy making, in this important area of international security affairs.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this course should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the development, scope, principles and main rules of international law regulating WMD proliferation and be able to explain the meaning and relevance of these concepts and rules;
  • Understand the process by which principles and rules regulating WMD continue to develop;
  • Understand the relationship between the international legal regime and domestic law;
  • Examine critically current developments in the regime governing WMD, and the policy and institutional challenges involved;
  • Evaluate the impact of international criminal law on the conduct of individuals, states, and other relevant actors;
  • Communicate effectively, in speaking and writing, on basic issues concerning the regulation of WMD.


Class participation 15%
Research essay 85%

Course Texts

D Joyner, International Law and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2008 Oxford University Press


A full up-to date reading list will be provided in the course outline.

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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.