Postgraduate Module Descriptor

LAWM117: The Law of International Organisations

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits30 ECTS Value15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Julia Schmidt (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


International organisations vary greatly in membership, size and tasks but they are becoming more prominent and powerful actors in international law. They increasingly take on traditional state functions. International organisations have the potential to contribute to the UN’s system of collective security by engaging in crisis management activities, including a variety of peaceful and coercive measures. At the same time, the autonomy claims put forward by some international organisations challenge the current international legal system. 

The main focus of the module The Law of International Organisations will be put on the United Nations (UN) and on the European Union (EU), but other regional organisations that carry out a security mandate, such as NATO and the African Union (AU), will also be addressed. Besides becoming familiar with the legal framework guiding international organisations, you will also be introduced to concepts of regional security, security governance and changing perceptions of threat relations which shape the way we approach international organisations today in international law and in international relations.

Prior exposure to public international law is recommended, but is not absolutely essential for the study of this module. If you have not studied public international law in the past you are advised to undertake additional introductory reading and will be offered specific guidance.

Students enrolled on this module are Student Members of the Exeter Centre for International Law and are expected to participate in relevant events of the Centre as part of this module.

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