Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Spoilt for choice

Hum, time to pick subjects, at least tentatively, for my Masters. Some sort of pre-registration to indicate what I intend to enrol in. Nice to know university bureaucracy is as just Byzantine, no matter where you land.

I need to sit four papers (three hour exams) to graduate with the Masters, one paper per subject. Some subjects offer as an alternative to a three hour exam either: a two hour exam and a 7000 word paper; or no exam and an 18000 word dissertation. Challenging.

To graduate with international law specialisation, three of my papers must come from the following list:

Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Peacekeeping - which would obviously be intensely topical. Despite this blog though, there’s more to international law than war and invading other countries. Not sure how keen I am.

Settlement of International Disputes - a course with a very wide scope: would include topics as diverse as the use of force, the international court and private international commercial arbitration.

History and Theory of International Law - this is lectured by Phillip Allott. I’m reading his “Eunomia: New Order for a New World” for kicks at present – a dense and sweepingly scholarly book. I’m normally suspicious of “high theory” courses, but Allott argues with convincing fervour that the current system of international relations is morally wrong and that only the development of a radically new doctrine of international law is likely to improve the practice of the international community – provided, of course, you can convince people of your theory.

The WTO and International Economic Law - the WTO strikes me as far too important at the moment to ignore. Like it or loathe it, it’s the only international body capable of enforcing its decisions and, as it has the potential to set internationally binding labour standards, could be the most effectual forum for practical human rights implementation. That said, the course coordinators don’t have a syllabus outline up yet, which is not terribly confidence-boosting.

International Criminal Law - International Disputes and Criminal Law are both taught by James Crawford, who’s a major guru, and he judged me in a moot (mock court) once. War crimes law has been a hobby interest for some time, odd as that sounds to say out loud.

So, anyway, if I don’t do Law of Armed Conflict –figuring I’ll cover the same material between the international disputes and criminal law courses, that would be my four, right? No! I want to do these subjects too:

Comparative Public Law – contrasting approaches to federal constitutional arrangements in the US, the UK and Europe.

Law and Practice of Civil Liberties.

The European Union as a New Legal Order.

One thing’s clear – no commercial firm would ever dare hire me again after doing any combination from this set of subjects. (Yes, I could equally as easily specialise in tax or commercial law. Care factor zero, sadly for my future bank balance.)

PS Last week's Naylor is now up. More Thursday.

No comments: