Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes

Course content

As shown in the South China Sea disputes, international disputes significantly affect international relations. Since our epoque can be characterized by international disputes, the settlement of these disputes is of central importance. In fact, the settlement of international disputes occupies the central place in public international law. Against that background, this course aims to examine the various means and institutions for the peaceful settlement of international disputes between States in international law.


Specifically it will address:

(i) preliminary issues (the concept of international disputes and typology of dispute settlement means, etc),

(ii) diplomatic means (negotiation, good offices, mediation, inquiry and conciliation),

(iii) dispute settlement through the United Nations,

(iv) inter-State arbitration,

(v) the International Court of Justice, and

(vi) the International Tribunal for the Law of the sea.


This course builds on knowledge obtained particularly in the bachelor course of public international law.

As this is a MA course, the students are required to critically analyse the above issues. While there is no requirement for students to complete other MA courses, a basic knowledge of public international law will be helpful to follow the course. This course will be relevant for students who wish to work in international fields, such as diplomat, international civil servant and NGOs. The course is given in English.

Learning outcome

Knowledge: On successful completion of the course, students will be able to demonstrate a specialised academic knowledge concerning diplomatic and legal means of international dispute settlement. In particular, the students will be able to explain advantages and disadvantage of each means of international dispute settlement.

Skills: The students will be able to select and advise relevant means of international disputes. They will also be able to critically analyse key issues associated with international courts and tribunals, in particular, procedural rules of the International Court of Justice in English.

Competences: The students will be able to advice relevant means of international dispute settlement. Furthermore, the students will be able to determine whether or not an international court would have jurisdiction to deal with a particular case.

The course is a inter-active lecture. The lecture is given on the basis of the actual or hypothetical cases. In the class, the students will be required to discuss questions in a small group.

Recommended literature:

Y.Tanaka, The Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes (Cambridge Unviersity Press, 2018), 405 p. (recommended textbook)

J. Merrills and E. de Brabandere, Merrills' International Dispute Settlement, 7th edn (Cambridge University Press, 2022) (alternative)

In addition, relevant cases and documents will be suggested within the scope of 375 pages in total.


It is illegal to share digital textbooks with each other without permission from the copyright holder.

Good command of English is recommendable.


Self-evaluation on the basis of quizzes or a mini-test. As a plan, students will be given a short written test or quizzes in the class. They exchange their answer and evaluate each other. Subsequently I will explain correct answer and provide the students suggestions to achieve learning objectives.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 1 day
Type of assessment details
Assigned written individual assignment, 1 day
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Spring: June 6-7, 2024

Summercourse: July 22-23, 2024



Spring: August 20-21, 2024

Summercourse: August 20-21, 2024

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • English
  • 206,25


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

Spring And Summer
  1. Students enrolled at Faculty of Law or holding a pre-approval: No tuition fee
  2. Professionals: Please visit our website  
Please see timetable for teaching hours
Contracting department
  • Law
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator
  • Yoshifumi Tanaka   (16-80767a6f706d7c7470357b687568726847717c7935727c356b72)
Saved on the 30-10-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students