JUS5912 – Legal Writing and Oral Advocacy in International Law
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
Through this course the students will improve their general academic and lawyering skills in legal writing and oral advocacy. While acknowledging the growing complexity and differences among various fields of international law, the course will address some of the main issues arising in the context of practicing international law before different international courts as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The course shall also help the students improve their academic legal writing skills.
The main issues covered during the seminars include an introduction to legal research methods in international law, the structure of legal argumentation, the interpretation of different international legal sources, good legal writing, and oral advocacy skills. Students will learn how to find and use various sources of international law, approach international legal questions from an academic or lawyering perspective, and construct sound legal arguments. Necessary attention will be paid also to ensuring proper referencing and avoiding plagiarism.
Writing skills are developed through a couple of exercises, culminating in the writing of a final written submission based on a fictitious case. Oral advocacy skills are developed through lectures and short videos, and focus on three situations, namely presentations, mooting, and negotiations. The improvement of oral advocacy skills shall serve the students in different professional situations, as well as help them prepare for a mock trial presentation before a bench of selected judges.
Every student will be assigned a role as either applicant or respondent. The written submission and oral presentation will be assessed by international law experts. The final assessment for this course is based on both a written submission and a mock trial presentation, based on a fictitious case. The written submission will be of a maximum of 4,000 words, footnotes included.
Skills and general competence:
Students will become familiar with international legal research methods and writing and advocacy skills in the area of public international law. The course focuses the practice of those skills through various small exercises (written or oral) which are conducted in class. Students examine how international legal sources and methods are applied, how lawyers conduct themselves in international legal practice, and how arguments are similar or different depending on the international adjudication forum.
This class will improve the legal writing and oral advocacy skills of the students and enhance their overall understanding of the international legal system, the writing of different legal documents at the international courts, the writing of a Master thesis on an international law topic, and the pursuit of careers in international law which require solid writing and oral advocacy skills.
The course is open for students enrolled in the 5-years Master of Law (master i rettsvitenskap) at the University of Oslo. Students enrolled in the LL.M. programme in Public International Law will be given priority to this course.
Formal prerequisite knowledge
Students must fill one of these requirements
10 credits overlap with JUR5912 – International Law in Practice - Mock Trial (discontinued)
Language of teaching for this course is English. This means that all communication during lectures/seminars will be in English, and all literature and auxiliary materials are in English.
Teaching will consist of seminars.
Written assignment with a maximum of 5000 words and oral examination.
The written assignment will encompass solving problem based questions, i.e. writing briefs for a fictitious case. The oral examination will be a 5 min presentation with maximum 1 minute reply/rejoinder on the basis of the written assignment. More details about the home and oral examination will be published on the semester page for this course (see current semester).
The written assignment is graded A-F while the candidate is awarded either a passing or a failing grade on the oral examination. Candidates who fail or do not submit the written assignment will not be able to attend the oral examination and thus fail the course. Candidates who fail or do not attend the oral examination will fail the course as well.
Use of sources and rules for citing.
Be sure that you are familiar with the use of sources and the rules for citing/quoting from others’ work
UiO uses a plagiarism checking tool as one of several instruments for detecting suspicion of cheating and attempted cheating.
More details about the written assignment will be published on the information page for this course (click on current semester).
Examination support material
No examination support material is allowed.
Language of examination
The written examination must be in English, and oral examination must be given in English.
Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.
(from autumn 2016)
Explanations and appeals
Resit an examination
- Illness at exams / postponed exams
- Resitting an examination.
- There are special rules for resitting a passed examination in the master's programme in Law.
Withdrawal from an examination
It is possible to take this exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.
Special examination arrangements
Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.
The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.
The language for this course is English. Students enrolled in Masterprogrammet i rettsvitenskap must pass one English subject as part of their degree, this course will meet these obligations.