Postgraduate Course

LLM International Humanitarian Law

LLM International Humanitarian Law

Overview

The details
International Humanitarian Law
October 2018
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus
Law (School of)

Situations of armed conflict and acute crisis affects the lives of millions of people globally. How does international law regulate the conduct of hostilities, and the protection of victims of conflict and acute crisis? What are the implications of developments like the so-called ‘war on terror’ and ‘migration crisis’ on the effectiveness of international law? Are the existing legal frameworks fit-for-purpose in responding to the challenges posed by new technologies such as automated weapons and cyber warfare?

In recent years, armed conflicts in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen, amongst others, have reminded us that the need to ensure respect for international law is as acute as ever.

Our LLM International Humanitarian Law has been designed to address situations such as these and provide you with the knowledge and skills to pursue or advance your career in fields related to legal regimes applicable to armed conflict and acute crisis situations. Emphasis is placed on understanding the practical application of the law. It is intended to ensure a balance between theory and practice, so that you are equipped to deal with real world situations.

You examine the legal regimes applicable to situations of armed conflict, and you develop a comprehensive understanding of:

  • the regulation of the conduct of hostilities
  • the protection of victims of armed conflict
  • the application of international human rights law in the context of armed conflict and acute crisis
  • the application of international criminal law and international refugee law in the context of armed conflict and acute crisis
  • addressing legal obligations and engagement of non-state actors

You also explore and debate some of the biggest contemporary challenges confronting the humanitarian sector today. This includes cutting-edge issues such as the legal challenges posed by new technologies and cyber warfare, as well as more traditional issues such as the protection of displaced persons during emergency situations.

At Essex we specialise in commercial law, public law, and human rights law. We are top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014), and we are among the top 200 departments on the planet according to the QS World University rankings (2017).

Why we're great.
  • We are ranked top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014)
  • Work with expert staff who have experience in UN human rights and development fields
  • We are the first university in the UK to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

Our expert staff

At Essex, our work has always been informed by the expertise of our academics, who are not only specialists in their fields, but have held – and continue to occupy – key positions in advising the Government and global NGOs on issues relating to human rights law and international humanitarian law.

You benefit from extensive research by our academics who lead this course:

  • Prof. Noam Lubell is widely published in the field of the law of armed conflict, as well as having experience working with NGOs and training for military and government. He has held numerous positions in the field, including Swiss Chair of IHL at the Geneva Academy, Rapporteur of the International Law Association's Committee on the Use of Force, and a Visiting Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, working on legal and ethical implications of new technologies.
  • Prof. Geoff Gilbert holds, and has held, a number of positions advising governments and international organisations on human rights law throughout his career. He has published an extensive number of works and currently has specific research interests in international refugee law, extradition law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international minority rights law.
  • Dr Gus Waschefort has particular research interests in the law of armed conflict in Africa and has extensive experience working and researching within active conflict zones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, South Sudan and Angola.
  • Dr Daragh Murray has published works such as ‘Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Armed Groups’ which is widely referenced in academia and the study of international law. Further research interests include counter-terrorism and the use of technology in surveillance.

Our School of Law also includes former UN Special Rapporteurs, members of UN treaty bodies, the UK member of the UN Human Rights Committee and a member of the Government’s new Advisory Group on Human Rights. We are also advisers to a range of international organisations (like the OHCHR, UNHCR and WHO), as well as to NGOs around the world, and litigators before national courts, regional human rights commissions and courts, international courts and tribunals, and the UN treaty bodies.

Specialist facilities

  • Participate in various legal competitions to hone your debating, mediation and negotiation skills
  • Work on key human rights projects at our Human Rights Clinic
  • Network at our student-run Law Society, Human Rights Society, and Bar Society, which provides legal advice to the Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA)
  • Our Essex Street Law project is one of the first of its kind and is the primary pro-bono project provided by our Law Society
  • Volunteer at the Essex Law Clinic where you can work alongside practicing solicitors to offer legal advice to clients
  • Gain commercial awareness at our Business and Legal Advice Clinic
  • Join our Model United Nations society, which can improve your skills of argumentation, oral presentation and research
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities throughout the year with visiting law firms

We also offer a range of opportunities for working with projects associated with our Human Rights Centre:

Your future

Our School of Law graduates have gone on to a wide variety of careers in international and intergovernmental organisations or employment with governments across the world, in commerce and banking, in non-governmental organisations and, as might be expected, in the legal profession and the judiciary.

We are first university in the UK to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This creates internship and research opportunities for our postgraduate students and is based on our long-established expertise in international humanitarian law.

During the year, we hold a careers session for our students in which we reflect upon our own careers and how they have been built as well as those from former students. We are always available to discuss career options and if you are interested in a particular area of human rights, we can link you up with the relevant alumni to offer advice.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A degree with an overall high 2:2.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.0 in writing

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Teaching

  • Mainly taught through seminars, supplemented by lectures where appropriate
  • Teaching also includes scenario-based tutorials, that focus on the application of the law to specific situations
  • You are taught in small groups
  • Postgraduates are welcome to participate in and present their work at our popular School Seminar Series

Assessment

  • Virtually all your modules are assessed by a combination of essays, take-home examinations or 100% coursework

Dissertation

  • Your dissertation is normally between 15,000-20,000 words in length
  • It is a compulsory component of our LLM courses
  • Supervision and guidance is given

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£7,560

International fee

£16,225

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

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Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

Virtual tours

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Exhibitions

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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