Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

The Laws of Armed Conflict LAW5154

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

The law of armed conflict - often understood as "international humanitarian law" - is central to international policy, legal and scholarly debates about regional and global security and the related conduct, rights and responsibilities of governments and other armed actors.

This course teaches the corpus of this legal regime as laid out in the Geneva Conventions, their Additional Protocols and customary international law, and enables students to develop a critical understanding of the law of armed conflict, its development and key elements and applications.

This course will accordingly equip students with knowledge and skills to engage with the complex and contested terrain of the regulation of armed conflict in both traditional and contemporary forms.



10 x 2 hour seminars in semester 2.

Requirements of Entry

The course is open to all LLM students subject to the requirements of the LLM programme to which a student is enrolled.

Excluded Courses





The course is assessed by an essay of 1500 words (25%) and a 2 hour final examination (75%).

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding of the laws of armed conflict and the role of international law in regulating international and non-international armed conflicts.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students should be able to:


1. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the laws of armed conflict.

2. Demonstrate critical understanding of the various challenges this legal order is currently facing.

3. Apply the laws of armed conflict to concrete situations.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.