BIL201 | Public International Law

Course Information

  • 2023-24
  • BIL201
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
  • III
  • July 2023
  • Core Course

The subject international law is generally referred to “that body of law which is composed for its greater part of the principles and rules of conduct which states feel themselves bound to observe, and therefore, do observe in their relations with each other”. Of course, the subject also deals with rules and regulations governing international institutions and, in certain circumstances, even individuals.

This course introduces students to the subject of international law (IL) through an understanding of the basic legal principles applicable to problems that arise in international relations. These problems are of special nature because of the sovereign nature of the functions states, as primary subjects of international law, undertake within their respective municipal spheres. The course being a foundational one, the principal objective is to equip students to understand the mechanisms of public order in the international community of sovereign independent states. Modern day international law, as against traditional international law, has witnessed significant changes, in terms of both approaches to international law and contents thereof. Some of these changes have occurred due to the initiatives taken by Afro-Asian and Latin American states, which have emerged on the international plane ending centuries of decolonization. These states began to question the Western legal and political thinking shaping the direction of international law (for example, see late Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru‟s Address to the General Assembly, Jawaharlal Nehru‟s Speeches, vol. I, September, 1946-May, 1949, Delhi, 1958). So, they developed „Developing‟, „Marxist‟, „Asian‟, „Third World‟ and „Gender‟ approaches to international law. As for the changes with respect to contents of modern international law, one is reminded of the challenges posed to the international community in areas such as the sea bed area, responsibility to protect (R2P), human rights including protection of environment, terrorism and outbreak of pandemic, to name a few, warranting adequate responsen from the states.

In the modern context at least, law making at the international level is by andlarge accomplished through entering into treaty, either multilateral or bilateral, relationships. However, there are other reference points-international custom, general principles of law recognized by modern legal systems, juristic works [(See Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)] – creating obligations for states. Not to ignore the „General Assembly Resolutions‟, unilateral declarations made and decisions taken in international conferences, subject of course to the contents of and the level of state participation.


Dr. Ashna Singh

Assistant Professor of Law

Govindraj Hegde
Govindraj G. Hegde

Associate Professor of Law

Dr. Harisankar K Sathyapalan

Associate Professor of Law