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This OpenLearn free course is designed to provide you with an introduction to key concepts which underpin the study of international law. It introduces the concept of international legal personality, explores the status of the state, examines the principle of sovereignty and summarises the principles of jurisdiction. The course focuses on areas which are of special relevance to contemporary events.

The course begins by considering how legal status is achieved in international law both for states and non-state actors. It then focuses on the concept of the state. It considers how a state is created and the implications of recognition or non-recognition of a state by other states. The topical issues of self-determination, secession, failed states and sovereignty are introduced. The course concludes by explaining the principles and implications of jurisdiction and considers some of its different and more controversial applications.

Course Curriculum

Introduction to Exploring the boundaries of international law 00:00:00
1 Personality in international law 00:00:00
1.1 Non-state actors 00:00:00
1.2 Achieving legal personality 00:00:00
1.3 International organisations 00:00:00
1.4 Individuals 00:00:00
2 The concept of a state 00:00:00
2.1 What constitutes a state? 00:00:00
2.2 The recognition of a state 00:00:00
2.3 The effects of recognition 00:00:00
2.4 Self-determination 00:00:00
2.5 ‘Failed’ states 00:00:00
3 Sovereignty 00:00:00
4 Jurisdiction 00:00:00
4.1 General principles of jurisdiction 00:00:00
4.2 Types of jurisdiction 00:00:00
4.3 Principles of jurisdiction 00:00:00
4.3.1 Territorial principle 00:00:00
4.3.1.1 Objective territoriality 00:00:00
4.3.1.2 Subjective territoriality 00:00:00
4.3.2 Nationality principle 00:00:00
4.3.3 Passive personality 00:00:00
4.3.4 Protective principle 00:00:00
4.3.5 Universality 00:00:00
4.4 Extraterritoriality – protective jurisdiction and the ‘effects doctrine’ 00:00:00
Conclusion 00:00:00

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