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This free course, Exploring the boundaries of international law, is designed to provide you with an introduction to key concepts underpinning your study of international law. It introduces the concept of international legal personality, explores the status of the state, the principle of sovereignty and summarises the principles of jurisdiction.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand the concept of international legal personality and the identity of the subjects of international law
- understand the nature of a state and how a state is created and recognised in international law
- understand the principle of sovereignty and of the operation of jurisdiction
- critically engage with complex, current and emerging legal and international issues.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Personality in international law
- 2 The concept of a state
- 3 Sovereignty
- 4 Jurisdiction
- 4.1 General principles of jurisdiction
- 4.2 Types of jurisdiction
- 4.3 Principles of jurisdiction
- 4.4 Extraterritoriality – protective jurisdiction and the ‘effects doctrine’
- Further reading
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Exploring the boundaries of international law
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.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 1st April 2016
Last updated on: Friday, 1st April 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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