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Regular version of the site
Master 2020/2021

Theory of International Law and Contemporary Issues of International Economic Law

Category 'Best Course for Career Development'
Category 'Best Course for Broadening Horizons and Diversity of Knowledge and Skills'
Category 'Best Course for New Knowledge and Skills'
Area of studies: Law
When: 1 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Master’s programme: Law of International Trade, Finance and Economic Integration
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus


The course ‘Theory of International Law and Contemporary Issues of International Economic Law’ covers theoretical issues of Public international law (main theories of International law, international law-making, the formation of international customs, doctrines of sources and subjects of International law, the relationship between International and domestic law, state responsibility, etc.) and also selected key issues of the International economic law such as jurisdictional immunities of states, international economic sanctions, protection of environment, interrelation of international economic law and human rights, international protection of property rights, etc.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The aim of the course is to provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the international regulatory system, to prepare them to deal with different norms of international law, including soft law, make research and present legal argumentation on selected key issues of the contemporary international economic law. As the result of the course students will obtain knowledge on structure of international law and international economic law in particular, hierarchy of norms, mechanisms of international dispute resolution, recent developments in this sphere, as well as critical view on the existing problems.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • structure of international law and international economic law
  • formation, fragmentation and hierarchy of international law norms
  • challenges and problems in international legal environment
  • to use specific terms and sources of the international economic law
  • practical abilities of research, analysis of UN, OECD, WTO legal documentation and academic papers
  • skills to analyse and solve cases and controversies, preparing legal argumentation and procedural and analytical documents in the sphere of International economic law
  • ability to work with information (search, evaluate, use information, necessary for fulfilment of academic and professional tasks, from various sources, including application of the systematic approach)
  • ability to carry out professional activities in the international environment
  • ability to search, analyse, and work with legally relevant information by using the juridical, comparative and other specific methods
  • ability to describe legal problems and situations in the field of International economic law
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • International economic and legal order: interrelation of law, politics and economy
    1. Main trends in international trade and global economy. Components of the global economy. 2. Theory of comparative advantage. 3. Existing misbalances and asymmetries in the modern global economy. Role of International law. 4. The concept and main components of International economic law. 5. Evolution and recent challenges of the contemporary international economic order.
  • The Theories of International law: legal formalism and beyond
    1. Legal formalism (positivism). 2. Overview of the main theories of International law. 3. The New Haven School; The New “New Haven School”; International Legal Process. 4. Global governance. Constitutionalism in International Law. Global Administrative Law. 5. International Law and Economics approaches: price theory; game theory; public choice; behavioural economics and International law. 6. Critical Legal Studies. TWAIL. Feminism.
  • International Law-Making and System-Design of International law
    1. International Law-Making: traditional and alternative approaches (substance-based; process-based; impact- or effect-based; 'new formalism'). 2. Politics of International Law in the writings of M. Koskenniemi. Norms of International law between normativity and concreteness. 3. Formation and identification of international customary law: two-elements structure of international customs and its critique; methods of induction, deduction and assertion in identification of international customs. New / modern / deductive customs. 4. Concept of the jus cogens norms: origin; positivistic and natural law explanation of its nature; examples. Relationship between jus cogens norms, obligations erga omnes (partes, proper), diplomatic protection and jus standi (standing). 5. Fundamental human rights and obligations under the UN Charter. Approaches of the Court of the European Union, the UN Human Rights Committee, and the European Court of Human Rights. 6. Fragmentation of International law. Principle of systemic integration. Approach of the Working group of the ILC to fragmentation and conflicts of norms in International law. Alternative approaches to fragmentation: MSEN doctrine, “conflict of laws” approach and legal pluralism.
  • Relationship between International and Domestic Law
    1. Monistic and dualistic approaches to the relationship between International and domestic law and their critique. 2. Approaches of states to the relationship between International and domestic law. 3. Ways of transformation of international norms at the domestic level. 4. International norms in Russian legal system. 5. The relationship between the Constitution of the Russian Federation and norms of international law. Implementation of decisions of international courts and interstate bodies in the Russian Federation. 6. Interaction between International and national courts: problem of strategic resistance.
  • States and International Organizations as Subjects of International Economic Law
    1. Subjects of International Economic Law. 2. States as subjects of International Economic Law. Legal Criteria of Statehood 3. Recognition of States and their economic rights and obligations 4. Legal personality of International Organizations and International Economic Relations 5. Other subjects of international economic law relations.
  • Jurisdiction in international law. Jurisdictional immunities of States and their property in International law
    1. Meaning and types of jurisdiction in International law. 2. Concept of Jurisdictional immunities of States in International law and national laws of selected States. 3. Legal sources of jurisdictional immunities. UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities and States and their property. 4. International case-law on jurisdictional immunities. International Court of Justice, Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece Intervening), Judgment of 3 February 2012. URL: http://www.icjcij.org/docket/files/143/16883.pdf). 5. National case-law on jurisdictional immunities: recent trends and challenges. 6. Extraterritorial jurisdiction in International law.
  • Responsibility of States for international wrongful acts in international economic relations
    1. The nature and basis of State Responsibility. 2. Sources of International Law of State Responsibility. 3. The conditions for State Responsibility. 4. Responsibility for the Acts of State Organs, Officials, and others. Attribution in International Law. 5. Circumstance precluding wrongfulness. Countermeasures.
  • International Economic Law and Human Rights
    1. Concept of Human Rights in International law and its limits. Legal entities as holders of Human Rights. Legal entities as addressees of obligations under International Human Rights Law. 2. The “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework (2008). 3. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011). 4. Drafting of a legally binding instrument on business and human rights (second draft, 2019). 5. International investment law and protection of fundamental human rights. 6. The OECD guiding instruments on business and human rights. 7. Protection of property under the Protocol № 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
  • International economic law and environmental protection
    1. Interconnection between international economic law and international environmental law. 2. Sustainable development and international economic law. 3. Prevention of global environmental problems and transboundary environmental harm from economic activities. 4. Current inter-state economic disputes concerning environmental protection.
  • Economic Sanctions under international law
    1. Economic sanctions and their political context. 2. Sanctions regimes in international and national laws. How they work. 3. Legality of unilateral sanctions in international law. 4. Limits of economic sanctions. Sanctions and human rights. 5. Challenging sanctions in national and international courts. 6. Sanctions and business relations. Sanctions and contracts. Sanctions clauses. Private sector implementation of sanctions.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Attendance, active participation and in-class discussion. Online.
  • non-blocking Oral exam. Online.
    Each students will receive two different topics from the list of exam topics and will be allocated 40 minutes for preparation of his/her oral presentation. During presentation each student is expected to demonstrate theoretical and practical understanding of the international regulatory system, selected key issues of the contemporary international economic law, answer questions of the course instructor. The exam is conducted via zoom platform with proctoring service.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.6 * Attendance, active participation and in-class discussion. Online. + 0.4 * Oral exam. Online.


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Adinolfi, G., Baetens, F., Caiado, J., Lupone, A., & Micara, A. G. (2017). International Economic Law : Contemporary Issues. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1302252
  • Besson, S., & d’Aspremont, J. (2017). The Sources of International Law : An Introduction. HAL CCSD.
  • Biukovic, L., & Potter, P. B. (2017). Local Engagement with International Economic Law and Human Rights. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Charlesworth, H., Chinkin, C., & Wright, S. (2015). Feminist Approaches to International Law: Reflections from Another Century. Hart Publishing.
  • Desierto, D. A. . (DE-588)1074901177, (DE-576)257976051. (2015). Public policy in international economic law : the ICESCR in trade, finance, and investment / Diane A. Desierto. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.426102398

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Epistemic forces in international law: foundational doctrines and techniques of international legal argumentation. (2015). Edward Elgar Publishing. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781781955284
  • Jeutner, V. (2017). Irresolvable Norm Conflicts in International Law : The Concept of a Legal Dilemma (Vol. First edition). Oxford, United Kingdom: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1555226
  • Sands, P. (2003). Principles of International Environmental Law: Vol. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press.