International Dispute Resolution and International Courts

Course content

The course has as its main goal to provide students with a general knowledge on international dispute resolution and international courts (ICs) that will allow them to engage in critical analysis and discussion of issues related to the authoritative power of these institutions and how they operate in practice..
To this end, we will analyze the geopolitical settings of the creation of some of the most important international judicial bodies, their functioning and main features, as well as discuss some of their landmark cases.


The course is thematically divided according to the functional categorizations used by the legal scholarship in this area.

  • The global judiciary (ICJ, ITLOS, ICC);
  • International economic dispute settlement (Arbitration (Investment and Commercial); WTO DSM);
  • Regional economic courts (CJEU and courts of justice of other economic communities);
  • Regional human rights courts (ECtHR and IACHT);
  • International criminal courts and tribunals (the ICC)


The instructor will provide a comprehensive overview of each of the above mentioned international judicial bodies by analyzing specifically: 1) the historical, social and economical backgrounds to the creation of ICs; 2) the peculiar characteristics of international adjudication in each case; 3) the structure and jurisdiction of various ICs (What issues do specific ICs address? What rules and instruments govern their activities? How are they structured and organized?); 4) Some of their landmark cases and outcomes.


Moreover, during the lectures students will be provided with theoretical tools that allow them to participate in an informed and critical discussion of the most relevant topics related to the emergence of the international judiciary such as:

  • The authority, legitimacy and effectiveness of ICs;
  • The independence and impartiality of ICs;
  • The role of lawyers and of other actors of international law;
  • The relationship between the national and international judiciary;
  • The emergence of a new world order (globalism, regionalism);
  • The relationship between international courts;
  • What role international courts plays in creating, sustaining and developing the global order and how this impacts both politics and society;


Through the entire course the students are called to actively participate in the discussion through class participation and individual presentations.


This course is part of iCourts Excellence Programme (iEP) – International Law and Courts in a Global World, see 'Remarks' below.” (under “content”)

Learning outcome

The objective of the course is to enable the students to:

  • Identify  the main institutions in the field of international dispute resolution with particular emphasis on Global, and Regional ICs.
  • Understand the institutional framework of different international, regional and human rights judicial systems, including specialized international criminal courts and tribunals;
  • Identify, explain and critically discuss  the main theoretical issues related to the emergence of forms of international governance and of the judicialization of international politics;
  • Communicate and formulate her/his knowledge and arguments professionally and linguistically correct and in a structured and coherent way

The readings for the course will be posted on the forum of the class (on Absalon). Readings will be divided into mandatory and optional readings. Mandatory readings cover the entire range of the issues of the course. Optional readings are for gaining a broader perspective on ICs, especially while writing the final papers.


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Oral communication, written communication, critical thinking, research abilities, analytical thinking, problem solving, presentation skills, capacity to read and understand academic texts in English, familiarity with the plagiarism guidelines at KU

Proficient in English

Please observe, this course is part of iCourts Excellence Programme (iEP) – International Law and Courts in a Global World. Students who sign up for the iEP become iCourts Student Fellows and will get a unique opportunity to become part of the research environment of iCourts – the only centre of excellence in law in Denmark. The iEP is open to all Danish and foreign BA and MA students at the Faculty. All iCourts courses may be taken individually but only students who complete a total of at least 45 ECTS courses offered by the centre or 30 ECTS of such courses plus write their MA-thesis with an iCourts Supervisor will receive a certificate confirming their participation in the iEP. Read more about the programme here: https:/​/​​icourts/​education/​excellence-programme/​

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

The interactive mode of the class allows the students to influence the questions addressed when discussing the topics and to react to peers’ contributions. Students will receive feedback on their individual presentations from the teacher before submitting the final version of their papers. Students will also receive feedback from their peers in class.

Type of assessment
Home assignment
Type of assessment details
Individual written assignment

Read about the descriptions of the individual exam forms, including formal requirements, scope and deadlines in the exam catalogue

Read about practical exam conditions at KUnet


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Hand-in date: January 13, 2025


Hand-in date: February 19, 2025

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 340,5
  • Seminar
  • 72
  • English
  • 412,5


Course number
Programme level
Bachelor choice

1 semester

  1. Students enrolled at Faculty of Law: No tuition fee
  2. Professionals: Please visit our website  
Please see timetable for teaching time
Contracting department
  • Law
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator
  • Mikael Rask Madsen   (13-557173696d743655696c7b6d7648727d7a36737d366c73)
Saved on the 30-04-2024

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