Curriculum Guide · Courses
International Law I: Introduction to International Law
Professor David Koplow
J.D. Course 235 | 3 credit hours
This introductory course deals with the nature, sources and operation of "public international law," with some of the most important contemporary challenges to the international legal system, and with the international community’s evolving responses to those challenges. It includes such topics as the law governing treaties and other international agreements; the recognition of states and governments; methods for international dispute resolution including litigation in the International Court of Justice; the United Nations and other international and regional entities; international human rights and international criminal law; law of the sea and international environmental law; and the rules governing the use of force. Some attention is also given to the role of international law in the U.S. legal system; questions of jurisdiction, foreign sovereign immunity and the act of state doctrine; and the allocation of foreign affairs powers between the President, the Congress, and the Judiciary. We will discuss a few of the most pressing illustrations of the operation – or shortcomings – of the international legal system in the context of current problems or crises. As a first-year elective, this course is intended to offer a contrast or a complement to the bulk of the first year curriculum, by exposing students to dispute resolution mechanisms other than litigation in U.S. courts, including through international courts and tribunals as well as international arbitration.
Students may not receive credit for this course and the upperclass course by the same title.
This course is a first-year elective. First-year day students select an elective offered in the spring.