International Law, Politics, and Dispute Settlement

International Law, Politics, and Dispute Settlement

Professor Kim Hyun Jung

Language: English

A+: Mina

  1. Short Introduction: This 3-credit course is a major elective (ME) for Political Science and International Relations (PSIR). The course overviewed the application of international law to international disputes and dispute settlement mechanisms. It briefly covered the sources of international law and mainly focused on international disputes regarding the law of the sea, international human rights law, and international environmental law. More emphasis was placed on the legal rather than political perspective. The course will be approachable to the new learners of international law.
  2. Class Composition : ★★☆
    • 21+ students
    • It would have been nicer to have a smaller class size
  3. Grading system
    • Attendance 10 % / Discussion 20 % / Presentation 30 % / Final 30 % / Assignment(s) + Quiz(zes) 10 %
    • Relative grading for 21+ students
      • 35%: A+, A0, A-
      • 35%: B+, B0, B-
  1. Lecture Style : ★★☆
    • Professor utilized PowerPoint slides for lectures. Lecture slides were uploaded on YSCEC after lectures
    • Lectures were mainly based on Textbook on International Law, Dixon, (Oxford University Press, 2013, 7th ed.).
    • In-class participation was highly encouraged.
    • The first half consisted of lectures. The remaining half consisted of student presentations.
  2. Workload : ★★★
    • Quite demanding
    • Student Presentation (30%):
      1. Format: Group work (Around three students per group)
      2. Components: Group Presentation Paper+ Group Presentation
      3. Topic: Each group was assigned to a topic that dealt with a specific international dispute (e.g. Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening). Although reading sources are given, students must seek other sources to write a well-researched paper.
      4. Presentation Paper: Each group was required to submit a presentation paper (3,000-4,000 words) before giving a presentation. Students were required to write a legal analysis paper on the issue. Blue Book style was used.
      5. Presentation: Time limit was 15 minutes. Groups presented on the key points of their presentation papers and exchange feedback with the audience during the discussion session.
    • Discussion (20%) [Related to student presentation]
      1. Discussions were held after each student presentation.
      2. Designated discussion leaders for each student presentation were required to prepare answers to discussion questions which were uploaded by the presenters. The performance of discussion leaders counted toward 20% of the entire grade.
      3. Other students were expected to read Presentation Papers before the student presentations and actively participate in the discussion.
    • Take-home exam/assignment (10%)
      1. Individual paper: legal analysis of a particular international dispute.
      2. Similar to presentation paper, but shorter in length (2,500 words)
  1. Difficulty of Exams : ★★☆
    • No midterm
    • Cumulative in-class final exam (30%): Much memorization was necessary. Memorizing lecture slides was very important.

*Note: Exam system may vary each semester (e.g. There may be both midterm and final exams)

  1. Tips :
    • Class participation and attendance are very important.
    • Do not procrastinate on the readings. Regularly review lecture notes, especially if the final exam is cumulative. It is really important to do well on the final exam because it may greatly affect the final grade bell curve.
    • Start preparing for student presentation+paper as soon as possible because writing a legal analysis paper entails an intensive research process. You may be required to thoroughly read and re-read ICJ/PCA cases. You must have a firm grasp of the relevant international rules in order to apply them correctly to a particular issue.
    • It is recommended not to sign up for the first student presentation because it is helpful to apply professor’s feedback to the previous presentations when preparing for yours.
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