Introduction to Public International Law

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
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The Public International Law course will look at the role of international law in responding to today's global challenges. Together, we will examine the nature and function of international law, its sources and subjects, international dispute settlement, questions of jurisdiction and immunities, as well as international security law, and the functioning of international organisations, in particular the United Nations.

The international community is currently faced with multiple fundamental challenges like climate change, international terrorism, and civil wars. This Summer School will investigate the role of public international law in dealing with these matters. Public international law is the branch of law that regulates the relationship between the actors operating at the international level, including States, international organisations, peoples, and individuals. It also has a major role to play in the management of the global commons, such as biodiversity, fish stocks, and a stable climate. We will link the general theory and doctrines of public international law to present-day challenges of global interest. By critically reflecting on the role of international law in responding to all these formidable global challenges, the Public International Law course aims to introduce the participants to the most important tenets of international law. These include the nature and function of international law and its role in global politics. We will analyse the relationship between international law and international relations. What influence does international law have in the tough world of politics and power? We will introduce the participants to the sources of international law: treaties, customary international law, and general principles. We will also identify the subjects of the international legal order: States, international organisations, peoples, individuals, and perhaps also corporations, armed groups, and others. We will look at questions of jurisdiction and immunities. We will also look at the role of the United Nations in the international legal order, and at international security law.

Course director

Prof. dr. Cedric Ryngaert

Study load

6 hours teaching during 4 days. 2 hours reading per day. Marks on the basis of a presentation at the end.


Course fee:
Course + course materials
Housing fee:

Housing through: Utrecht Summer School.


We do not offer any scholarships.


For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:

  • Motivation Letter
  • C.V.

More information

Utrecht Summer School | E:

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Introduction to the International Law of the Sea


Application deadline: 28 June 2020