6 ECTS credits
150 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 4022231DER for all students in the 2nd semester at a (D) Master - preliminary level.

2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Law and Criminology
Educational team
Frederik Dhondt (course titular)
Raphaƫl Cahen
Activities and contact hours

26 contact hours Lecture
90 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course Content

This course treats themes from the history of public law and international law (treaties, war and peace, alliances, diplomacy, constitutional order). The aim of this course is not pure transfer of knowledge, but the stimulation of understanding and the development of legal reasoning through historical examples. A first partim (8 hours) treats international legal doctrine from the Middle Ages to the present. A second partim (8 hours) treats cases on the European Balance of Power in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, using published treaties and diplomatic correspondence. A final partim (8 hours) treats the European balance in the nineteenth century, with a strong emphasis on the Vienna Congress (1814-1815).

Course material
Digital course material (Required) : Reader/ Teksten, Canvas
Additional info

Digital reader in PDF through Canvas (treaties, papers, diplomatic sources). Frequent use of English and French, German to a lesser degree.

Learning Outcomes


This course is a metajuridical course, stimulating reflection. This requires analysis, critical evaluation and synthesis of new, personal perspectives, based on insight acquired in the interactive courses.

As a reflection course, legal history offers a historical perspective on matters already treated during the Bachelor and Master program in Law, in a positivist approach. Starting from primary sources (treaties, diplomatic correspondence, private correspondence), the instructors build a bottom-up and interactive approach, engaging students to participate and discuss the role of law in diplomatic negotiations, as well as the specific place of law in the history of power, as well as ideas. Starting from the structural differences between the law of nations and private law, the common matrix of European legal culture, this leads to a general reflection on the sources of law and normativity.

Students master:

  1. The main developments in the history of public international law
  2. The identification of various points of view in case of conflicts between international law and constitutional law, in the studies cases
  3. A critical approach of the available secondary literature and primary sources


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
LEC Presentation determines 25% of the final mark.
LEC Paper determines 75% of the final mark.

Within the LEC Presentation category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Student presents orally with a relative weight of 25 which comprises 25% of the final mark.

Within the LEC Paper category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Student produces paper with a relative weight of 75 which comprises 75% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

At the start of the term, the thematic subjects of the courses will be announced. Students choose a subject, present for fifteen minutes and deliver a full scientific written paper by the end of the term, consisting of 2000 to 2500 words (excluding footnotes).


Criteria for grading (both for presentation and paper):

  • Contents (50%): depth of the analysis, relevance of the chosen angle of approach, original nature of the contribution
  • Form (50%): linguistic abilities, structure and reasoning, coherent referencing style (written paper)

Working students contact the principal instructor to fix the modalities of presentation and paper. All day classes are recorded and broadcasted using Pantopto.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Laws: Dual Master in Comparative Corporate and Financial Law (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws: Civil and Procedural Law (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws: Criminology (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws: Economic Law (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws: Tax Law (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws: International and European Law (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws: Public Law (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws: Social Law (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Laws: Criminal Law (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Teaching in Social Sciences: rechten (90 ECTS, Etterbeek) (only offered in Dutch)