Course content

The course is divided into three parts. The first part introduces the students to the main institutions at the global arena. This part will review several major institutions, their practice and history as well as the scholarship that studied their behavior. The second part delves deeper into the insights provided by the literature about the behavior of international organizations. Unlike the first part, the second part will not address each institution sequentially. Instead, it will review the scholarship that tried to answer the main questions raised by the practice of international organizations. The third part situates international organizations in a global arena. It will study how these organizations interact with each other and how the legal landscape is shaped by their existence and activity.

Learning outcome

The goal of this course is to teach students about international organizations. The organizations that will be examined include international courts and tribunals, regional bodies such as the European Union, global inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, and Non-Governmental Organizations. The course will focus on the power-play between the different institutions at the global arena and will put special emphasis on the strategies organizations apply as they rival to increase their impact and influence.

Students will learn to identify the main international organizations, to understand the way they work and the strategies they apply, to explain prevailing phenomena in the global arena, and to present their acquired knowledge and their own critical thoughts on the issue in a clear and precise manner.

The course is based on a series of lectures by the lektor, which will build on reading materials listed in the syllabus. Students are expected to read the mandatory reading materials and to analyze them critically. The classes will put a strong emphasis on discussions with the students based on the material they read and the lectures they listened to. In these discussions, students will acquire the skills of understanding legal cases as well as academic work from diverse methodologies, assessing the robustness and outcomes of this work by applying interdisciplinary methods, and, just as importantly, communicating their thoughts clearly accurately and concisely to the class.

Part I – An Introduction to International Institutions

Meeting 1 – Introduction
Eyal Benvenisti, The Law of Global Governance (Hague Academy of International Law, 2014) pp. 15-36. (22 pages)

Meeting 2 - The United Nations (UN)
Oscar Schachter, United Nations Law, 88 Amer. J. Int'l L. 1-23 (1994). (24 pages)

Meeting 3 – The European Union (EU)
Robert Schütze, European Constitutional Law (2012) pp. 80-115. (36 pages)

Meeting 4 – The Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Tom Ginsburg & Richard H. McAdams, Adjudication in Anarchy: an Expressive Theory of International Dispute Resolution, 45 Wm & Mary L. Rev. 1229 (2004). pp. 1243-1251, 1262-1276. (24 pages)

Meeting 5 – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
Christine Goodwin v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 11 July 2002, 2002-VI EUR. Ct. H.R. 1  (39 pages)

Meeting 6 – The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)
Karen J. Alter, The European Court's Political Power – Selected Essays (2009), chapter 5 pp. 92-108. (17 pages)

Meeting 7 – The World Trade Organization (WTO)
Eyal Benvenisti & George W. Downs, Distributive Politics and International Institutions: The Case of Drugs, 36 Case Western Reserve J. Int'l L. 21 (2004). (31 pages)

Meeting 8 – International Criminal Adjudication
William A Schabas, Prosecutorial Discretion v. Judicial Activism at the International Criminal Court, 6 J. Int'l Crim. Just. 731 (2008). pp. 731-753. (23 pages)

Meeting 9 – Non-Governmental Organizations and their Place in the Global Arena
Dinah Shelton, The Participation of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Judicial Proceedings, 88 Am. J. Int'l L. 611 (1994). (32 pages)

Part II – Studying International Organizations

Meeting 10 – Insights from International Relations Theory
Anne-Marie Slaughter, International Law and International Relations Theory: A Prospectus, in The Impact Of International Law On International Cooperation – Theoretical Perspectives, 16 (Eyal Benvenisti Moshe Hirsch ed., 2004). (34 pages)

Meeting 11 – Reputation and Signaling
Andrew Guzman, How International Law Works – A Rational Choice Theory (2008) pp. 25-49 (25 pages)

Meeting 12 - Why Do States Join International Treaties? 
Oona A. Hathaway, Between Power and Principle: An Integrated Theory of International Law, 72 U. Chi. L. Rev. 469 (2005). pp. 486-513 (28 pages)

Meeting 13 – Why Do States Join International Regimes?
Andrew Moravcsik, The Origins of Human Rights Regimes: Democratic Delegation in Postwar Europe, 54 Int'l Org. 217 (2000).  (36 pages)

Meeting 14 – Doctrines of Subsidiarity: Margin of Appreciation and Complementarity 
Eyal Benvenisti, Margin of Appreciation, Consensus and Universal Standards, 31 Nyu J. Int'l L. Pol. 843-854 (1999). (12 pages)

Meeting 15 – Interactions Between the National and International Levels
Eyal Benvenisti & George W. Downs, National Courts, Domestic Democracy, and the Evolution of International Law, 20 Eur. J. Int'l L. 59-72 (2009).
Yuval Shany, Regulating Jurisdictional Relations Between National And International Courts (2007), Conclusions pp. 197-200. (18 pages)

Meeting 16 – Political Constraints on International Courts and Organizations
Tom Ginsburg, Bounded Discretion in International Judicial Lawmaking, 45 Va. J. Int’l L. 631 (2005). pp. 656-673. (18 pages)

Meeting 17 – Does Independence Help International Courts?
Eric A. Posner & John C. Yoo, Judicial Independence in International Tribunals, 93 Cal. L. Rev. 1 (2005). pp. 1-8; 26-29; 51-54.
Laurence R. Helfer & Anne-Marie Slaughter, Why States Create International Tribunals: A Response to Professors Posner and Yoo, 93 Cal. L. Rev. 899 (2005). pp. 899-905; 931-936. (29 pages)

Meeting 18 - How to Create Effective International Courts?
Laurence R. Helfer & Anne-Marie Slaughter, Toward a Theory of Effective Supranational Adjudication, 107 Yale L.J. 273 (1997). pp. 273-290
Yuval Shany, Assessing the Effectiveness of International Courts: A Goal-Based Approach, 106 Amer. J. Int'l. L. 225 (2012). pp. 225-233; 240-248. (26 pages)

Meeting 19 – How International Courts Cope with Ineffectiveness
James L. Cavallaro & Stephanie Erin Brewer, Reevaluating Regional Human Rights Litigation in the Twenty-First Century: The Case of the Inter-American Court, 102 Am. J. Int'l. L. 768 (2008). pp. 768-771, 778-795 (22 pages)

Part III – Understanding the Global Arena

Meeting 20 – Global Administrative Law
Benedict Kingsbury, Nico Krisch & Richard B. Stewart, The Emergence of Global Administrative Law 68 Law & Contemp. Prob. 15  (2005). (47 pages)

Meeting 21 – Fragmentation in International Law
Eyal Benvenisti & George W. Downs, The Empire’s New Clothes: Political Economy and the Fragmentation of International Law, 60 Stan. L. Rev 595 (2007). pp. 595-619.
Yuval Shany, The Competing Jurisdictions Of International Courts And Tribunals (2003). Conclusions, pp. 283-288. (31 pages)

Meeting 22 – A Normative View on International Organizations
Armin von Bogdandy & Ingo Venzke, In Whose Name? A Public Law Theory of International Adjudication (2014), the Conclusion. (9 pages)

Meeting 23 – Empirical Methodologies and the Use of Economics
Gregory Shaffer & Tom Ginsburg, The Empirical Turn in International Legal Scholarship, 106 Am. J. Int'l L. 1 (2012). pp. 1-25, 44-46 (28 pages)

Meeting 24 – The Future of International Organizations
Eyal Benvenisti, The Law of Global Governance (Hague Academy of International Law, 2014) pp. 37-68. (31 pages)

Meeting 25 – Conclusions and Insights about the Nature of International Law
Martti Koskenniemi, The Politics of International Law, 1 Eur. J. Int'l L. 4 (1990).
Jack L. Goldsmith & Eric A. Posner, The Limits of International Law (2005) pp. 10-17. (38 pages)

Total Number of Pages: 680

Students must be proficient in the English language.

Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 days
Assigned individual written assignment, 3 days
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed based on the quality of their exams. This quality is judged first, according to the demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the mandatory reading materials and the lectures taught during the course; second, according to the analytic skills demonstrated by the exam with special emphasis on the skills systematically developed during the course; and finally, based on the ability to communicate these ideas accurately and coherently.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 48
  • Preparation
  • 364,5
  • English
  • 412,5