2023-2024 / DROI1271-1

Law and Practice of International Organizations


24h Th

Number of credits

 Master in law (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (120 ECTS) (CATANE (OUT))5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (120 ECTS) (CATANE (IN)), 1st year5 crédits 
 Master in political sciences : general (60 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology)5 crédits 


Frédéric Dopagne

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Although particular consideration is devoted - due to their respective peculiarities - to the United Nations as well as integration organizations (EU), the course does not consist of an analysis of individual international organizations. It rather deals with legal issues common to all international organizations, or particulary important or controversial. Against this backdrop, the main topics to be addressed are :
In the first part of the course, dedicated to the legal status of the organization : - Creation and membership; - International legal personality, legal capacities (in the international legal order and in domestical legal orders) and competence; - International responsability of organizations and of its members; - Privileges and immunities of the organization, of its civil servants and of permanent representatives of its members.; - Dissolution and succession.
In the second part of the course, dedicated to the activities of the organizations : - Adoption of legal acts (including treaties between members) - Monitoring and controlling multilateral regimes (environment, nuclear weapons, ect.); - Sanctions; - International administration of territories; - Specific operational activities (e. g., peace-keeping, financial assistance, etc.).

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Law and practice of International organizations is an advanced cours that aims at enabling students to acquire a thorough knowledge of the main legal issues revolving around both the status and activities of international organizations. Whilst focusing on specific technical questions of public international law, it highlights the stakes behind the increasing "institutionalization" of international relations.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Although the necessary background will be provided, to some extent, on questions of general public international law arising during the course (law of treaties, international responsibility, etc.), students must have previously attended a course on general public international law, in the framework of legal studies.

Students must have a good knowledge of English, enabling them to follow the lectures - which involves taking the appropriate notes - and to answer questions during the exam.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course consists of lectures of 2h/week. Students are provided with a detailed outline of the course via ecampus. They are called upon to prepare a limited number of lectures, on the basis of the case-law or other material that will be circulated beforehand and discussed during the lectures.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

The course is taught in the second semester, on Wednesday from 8.00 am to 10.00 am.

Recommended or required readings

There is no particular textbook. Students are urged to take appropriate notes during the lectures, based on the abovementioned detailed outline of the course and reading material.

Whilst not being mandatory, reading the following textbook can be useful: J. KLABBERS, An Introduction to International Institutional Law, Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 2009.

Any session :

- In-person

oral exam

- Remote

oral exam

- If evaluation in "hybrid"

preferred remote

Additional information:

The exam is an oral one, in English. One or several of the questions may be presented as a pratical case or call for a critical comment on a court decision or another document.
Students are allowed to bring only relevant international instruments (treaties, resolutions, etc.) and case-law, as well as a dictionary where necessary. Underlining, highlighting, cross-references to articles and bookmarks are permitted as long as they do not contain other notes.
The exam does not require a perfect command of legal English although students must, as usual, be able to present theirs answers with the necessary supporting arguments and adequate nuances.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course



Association of one or more MOOCs