PPLE College is a unique multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme formed between the faculties of Economics and Business, Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Law. The programme is founded on the notion that contemporary challenges posed by a globalizing economy, international terrorism, and social inequality cannot be addressed from the vantage point of only one academic discipline. PPLE combines Politics, Psychology, Law, and Economics to present a more comprehensive approach to contemporary social issues.

Our Course

Public International Law is a second-year course that provides an overview of the fundamental principles of public international law and the structures of the global legal system. It has been developed by Dr. Annemarie Middelburg, together with professors of the University of Amsterdam. The course touches upon the basics of different fields of international law and addresses specific substantive issues such as the use of force, dispute settlement, and state responsibility. Throughout the course, we also study the sources of international law (treaties and customary law), main players (states and non-state actors including international organizations and corporations), and the relationship between international and national law. 

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The Structure

Public International Law is an intense course with two weekly lectures and two tutorials over seven weeks. Handbooks like International Law (Wallace and Martin-Ortega), International Law (Henriksen), and Blackstone’s International Law Documents (Evans) have been fundamental for the development and execution of this course over time. From 2016 until 2020, the course was taught at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). However, in March 2020 PIL was swiftly transformed into an online course, where lectures were recorded at the UvA, and tutorials were made into live Zoom sessions. After completing the first online course, we were pleased to corroborate that students showed the same progress in their analytical understanding of the international law system as those who had attended the traditional on-campus classes. 

Our Conclusions

Public International Law has the purpose of enabling students to gain a better understanding of the nature and structures of the international legal system and to learn how rules of public international law can be critically evaluated. By the end of the course, students should be capable of applying the principles and rules of international law to factual situations efficiently. We have been pleasantly surprised at the consistent and rapid evolution of students throughout the course and have thoroughly enjoyed witnessing them become real experts!