Course content

Few today believe that there are natural standards of justice by reference to which we can assess law. Nonetheless, we still want, and expect, law to be just. We believe that, to be just, law should apply equally to all. At the same time, we feel that there are situations where it would be unjust to impose the same obligations on everybody, the rich and the poor, the weak and the strong. This is why the modern state acts to keep social inequality and human suffering within acceptable limits so that we may apply the law to all, without having to worry that doing so might be an injustice to some.

At the level of international law, this nexus of law and justice is challenged in two ways: first, here we are faced with a completely different scale of suffering and, secondly, there are no established mechanisms to alleviate inequality and suffering.

As we move from the closed horizon of the state to the open-ended horizon of international law, we find that there is an urgent need to apply law to correct injustice. We are, however, also left to wonder whether law can fulfil the ambition of justice beyond the state. These are the questions that the seminar will consider.

In the first part of the seminar, the students are introduced to the most important theory of international justice and work through its strengths and weaknesses in class discussions. The second part of the seminar deals with a series of closely connected problems of global inequality and suffering that speak directly to the implication of law and justice. Here, focus is on the role, and limitations, of human rights in addressing them.

Among the topics covered are

  • International justice theory
  • The role of human rights in addressing problems of global inequality and suffering
  • Global poverty
  • Right to resources
  • Access to medicine/global health concerns
  • New forms of slavery
  • Migration
  • Climate change

Please note that this course is a part of a new comprehensive Advanced Programme in International Law and Crisis offered by the Centre for International Law, Conflict and Crisis (CILCC). The Advanced Programme consists of a package of four inter-related courses, which all deal with contemporary issues related to conflict and crisis from the perspective of international law. Students who sign up for the CILCC Advanced Programme will get a unique opportunity become an integral part of CILCC’s research environment.
Please see further: http:/​/​jura.ku.dk/​cilcc/​education/​international-law-crisis/​
The CILCC Advanced Programme is open to all Danish and foreign MA students at the Faculty of Law. While it is possible to take this course individually, only students completing at least three of the four courses in the CILCC Advanced Programme package will receive a document confirming their participation in the programme.

Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Oral exam based on synopsis, 20 minutes
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • English
  • 412,5