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International Law in the 21st Century Ages 19+

Oxford Summer School for Adults 2020

Also available in Cambridge | London

A two-week summer course for young adults wishing to learn the fundamentals of International Law, residential in an Oxford University college.

2 weeks | Available July - August 2020

  • Live, dine and study in colleges of the University of Oxford
  • Law tuition with ORA's expert tutoring faculty
  • Talks with world-class guest speakers
  • A truly international environment - form a global network
  • Inspirational cultural programme

Course Summary

The course will focus on recent developments in the field of international law, and guide students through the central debates within the discipline. It begins with the philosophy of law, seeking to help students understand the origin of laws, and enter a legal mindset.. It then covers the main theories of international law, drawing from realism to liberal institutionalism and constructivism.

This course will offer a thorough grounding in the principles of Law across key topics, and how the systems of Law that we have are justified from a philosophical standpoint. Additionally, it offers valuable training in debating and discussing complex and often controversial topics in a respectful way; a skill that is valuable not only at university but also in the workplace. Law requires clear and precise communication, and a key aim of this course is to train all students in communicating in this way.


This two-week course is aimed at adults who are keen to learn the fundamentals of International Law in the 21st century. Prior legal training is not required, as all the necessary concepts will be covered during this intensive course.

What to expect from the International Law in the 21st Century Course

A comparative law perspective applied in this course enables students to gain a better understanding of legal systems all over the globe. The course covers Human Rights and explores the role played by international institutions in an interconnected world. It also studies international dispute settlement, highlighting some of the most famous cases of disputes between countries, or between states and non-state actors. By discussing international commercial arbitration, we explore in this course the ways in which international agreements and arbitration awards are enforced globally through hard law and soft law.

How will the International Law course help me?

This course is aimed at gap year students, current undergraduates and any other adult learners who wish to expand their understanding of Law with like-minded peers from all over the world. It’s particularly suitable for students interested in topics adjacent to Law; for instance, for students of Politics, International Relations or History, or those who are interested in working in law enforcement, local government or the Civil Service. They might also be current undergraduates who are considering a Law conversion course upon graduation, in which case this introduction to Law at a higher level than they might previously have encountered is sure to be invaluable. However, students might also choose to take this course if you studied Law at school and would like to refresh your memory and build on that knowledge, or even if you are studying a completely unrelated subject and simply find the world of Law fascinating – as so many people do.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have:

  • Been trained in debating and discussing complex and controversial topics
  • Visited the court of international arbitration in London
  • Studied the principles and systems of Law
  • Understood the philosophy and origins of Law

The table below gives an indication of the subject areas that will be covered in each day’s lecture and seminar. Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, please note that topics and timings may be subject to change.

Day Week 1 (Scroll right for week 2) Week 2
Monday Lesson 1: Justice. The Morality of Law
Seminar: Would you ever kill an innocent person?
Lesson 6: Lecture- Human Rights Law
Seminar: When Strasbourg reigns over prisoners in the UK
Tuesday Lesson 2: Theory of International Law
Seminar: What kind of world do we (Want to) live in?
Lesson 3: Lecture- Comparative Constitutional Law
Presentation: Yes! That’s how we settle disputes in my country
Field Trip or Guest Speakers
Wednesday Lesson 4: Lecture- When a guilty mind meets a guilty act
Seminar: Let the blind man die?!
Group project presentations
Thursday Field Trip or Guest Speakers Lesson 7: Lecture- Law of Tort Private v Public nuisance
Seminar: Living on a ship of fools
Lesson 8: Contract Law offers v Invitation to treat
Seminar: Oxford says YES… To everyone.
Friday Lesson 5: Lecture- International criminal law Lesson 9: Lecture- International Commercial Arbitration
Seminar: Global enforcement, Hard Law v Soft Law
Lesson 10: Lecture- International dispute settlement
Seminar: Who deals with that?

Take this course if...

Take this course if you are considering a career in Law or you are passionate about legal justice.

Welcome to the City of Oxford - your home this summer

ORA Experience

Oxford is a city like no other, combining startlingly beautiful architecture with a buzzing, modern city centre, with superb shopping, restaurants, cafés and more. With the colleges of Oxford University at its heart, some almost 800 years old, it is a city steeped in history and academia.

Students on Oxford Royale's Oxford summer courses will have the chance to live, dine and study in this stunning city, exploring all of its major sites and discovering its hidden secrets. Through both organised trips to key landmarks and free time in the evenings, students will become acquainted with all that Oxford has to offer.

As students walk the cobbled streets and gaze up at the spires, gargoyles and honey-coloured stone buildings, they will be walking in the footsteps of some of the most influential figures in history, including prime ministers, presidents, Nobel prize-winning scientists, authors and more.

Why study in Oxford?
Why study in Oxford?
Why study in Oxford?

Useful information for students


Students will be accommodated in comfortable single rooms in either Merton or University College, depending on the course chosen - please contact our registrations team if you would like more information. Accommodation is the standard accommodation for university undergraduates who study at the university, so students are able to get a flavour for what being an undergraduate at the university might be like. Bathrooms are typically shared between students of the same gender, though in some cases en-suite facilities are available.

Programme Staff

The programme is overseen by the Programme Director, who implements the day-to-day running of the programme. The Director is assisted by a team of Counsellors who very often are current members of the University of Oxford or University of Cambridge and are able to provide an insight into life at these prestigious institutions.

Eligibility & pre-requisites

Students on this course:

  • Must conform to our age policy.
  • Must be fluent or near-fluent English language speakers – if you are unsure whether your English level is suitable for this programme, please contact our Registrations Team on [email protected] and they will be able to assist you.
  • Must be able to fulfil the basic requirements of the programme, in terms of attendance at lessons, meals and events. Please contact our Registrations Team for more detailed information.

Our Teaching Faculty

At Oxford Royale Academy we are committed to providing our students with the most qualified and high-calibre teaching faculty available. All Oxford Royale Academy teachers are passionate about their subjects, and are looking forward to passing their knowledge on to their students this summer! For full details of last summer’s teaching faculty, please click here

Guest Lectures & Debates

At ORA, we go the extra mile to enhance the study abroad experience of our students. As part of this, every year our dedicated Events Team organises a series of fascinating guest lectures. Guest speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds and specialisms, including the worlds of online media, television and academia. Our students also have the opportunity to watch and participate in a number of debates, which take place on campus. These range from formal Panel Debates, involving teaching faculty and other staff, to informal discussions about current “hot topics” led by Counsellors.

Extra-curricular Activities

At ORA, we never forget that our students are on vacation and seeking new experiences outside of the classroom as well as in lessons. Included with every ORA course is an extra-curricular timetable, carefully designed by our dedicated Events Team to ensure our adult students have fun, network, and get the most out of their time with us.

Find out more

Find out more Immigration & Visas

Information and advice on securing your student visa.

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Find out more Arrival & Departure

Information about how to travel to and from an ORA summer course.

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Find out more Airport Transfers

Details of transfers between ORA and Heathrow Airport.

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Find out more FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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International Law in the 21st Century is residential in the following venues:

(If your course takes place in more than one campus in the same city and you would like to know more about which location you will be allocated, please call our admissions team)

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