Law and International law- Elab Education

If you want to study law and international law, the first basic question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to work within one national legal system. Do you wish to learn the national laws of a specific country? Maybe you want to focus on the relationships between legal entities which cross borders. Moreover, if you intend to defend clients accused of criminal actions in court, draw up contracts, resolve complex issues relating to land ownership or sue for negligence and damages, then you are looking for a career in the law of the country where you want to practice. However, if your interests lie in the field of human rights, environmental protection and the law of the sea, transnational trade, and business, you are ideally suited to studying international law.

Law or International law

There has long been a debate about whether international law can be viewed as law since it cannot be enforced. For instance, some countries signed up for the Kyoto Protocol. This is an international agreement drawn up to tackle climate change, and countries cannot be fined or forced to keep their word by the other signatories. They can simply sign the agreement and ignore it. In contrast, if the state passes legislation that says that you are not to carry a gun, and you are found in possession of a weapon, you will be punished for breaking the law.

Similarly, as globalization expands at a rapid pace, former distinctions between public and private international law are becoming blurred, and international organizations and super-national institutions such as the International Court of Justice are keeping pace and multiplying.  Whichever degree you decide to take, your career prospects are excellent. International law is now a good option, and you no longer need to limit your horizons to one country, within one set of rules and regulations. Let us now look at both fields in greater detail.

International law

The simplest definition of international law is that it is the rules agreed upon between countries, through treaties, conventions, pacts, and protocols. International law is intended to support peace, resolve conflicts, improve environmental protection, tackle crime and regulate trade and business dealings. In short, it deals with issues that cross borders and legal jurisdictions. For example, Interpol, the World Trade Organisation, and the UN Security Council are typical organizations that have transnational goals.

Many countries debate and agree on rules among themselves, and these rules apply to states, businesses, and individuals of other nations. Signing a treaty is optional, of course- for example, neither India nor Israel were signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty on nuclear weapons. World trade, the transport of goods from one country to another, extradition proceedings, international safety standards, space laws, and money laundering laws are among the subjects of international laws.

Laws can be changed over time, to take into account new events and circumstances. This has usually been done by either creating new pacts, protocols, or treaties or through conventions and judicial decisions. For instance, if a country refuses to comply with what has been agreed then international law does not offer any form of enforcement, apart from sanctions. Recent history has also shown that sanctions can be, and often are, ignored on the political stage.

International law and career prospects

If you graduate with a degree in international law you have many career paths open before you, including:

  • Diplomacy
  • Mediation
  • Working as a negotiator
  • Corporate law, advising clients on acquisitions and transfers
  • Policy advisor
  • Ambassador role for a country or an organization
  • NGO advisor
  • Intergovernmental organizations
  • Legal advisor
  • International lawyer, drawing up international contracts and trade agreements
  • Private international lawyer: for example, international lawyers sued Union Carbide for the 1984 Bhopal gas leak at their pesticide plant, where 3,787 people died

Where can I study law in English, in Europe?

United Kingdom

There are 104 bachelor’s degrees and  courses available in the UK in international law, including:

  • University of Birmingham
  • Durham University
  • The University of Warwick
  • King’s College London
  • University of Liverpool
  • Lancaster University
  • University of Manchester
  • Kingston University
  • University of Sussex
  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • University of Sheffield


You cannot study law at undergraduate level in the USA.

However, IE University Spain runs a five-year course with Northwestern University which will give you a bachelor’s degree in Global Law.  Moreover, the JD, or Juris Doctor, the American post-graduate qualification in the law allows you to sit the US bar exams and start practicing as a lawyer. Be aware that this is an expensive option!


You can study for a first degree, in English, in international law at:

Cyprus Science University

Turin, Italy

Brussels School of Governance

Vesalius College, Brussels

Groningen University, the Netherlands

Trento, Italy

Tilburg University


The University of New South Wales, Sydney

Alternatively, Australian institutions offer short courses and degrees at Master’s level:

  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Sydney
  • Griffith University
  • The University of Technology
  • Macquarie University
  • University of Western Australia
  • Monash University
  • University of Queensland

Studying law and international law

Undergraduate law degrees can focus on preparing you for a legal career. The course can also be much broader in scope and can cover criminal behaviour, law enforcement, psychology, law and business, criminal justice, international relations, etc.

Secondly, to complicate matters still further, you will find that there are many joint degree options available. Therefore, you can choose to combine law and Spanish, law and business, law and history, law and philosophy, etc.

You must be clear about whether you are interested in studying law and international law to become a defense or prosecution lawyer. Do you want to appear in court in cases involving individuals and legal entities? Do you want to specialize in a specific field of the law and work outside the court environment? Remember, if you wish to become a barrister or a solicitor, for example, in the UK you will have to complete the LLB degree. You will then spend another two years gaining professional experience and sitting entrance exams.

Rules and regulations

Each country has its own rules and regulations for admitting people to practise law and you should check this before committing to a particular path. If you do go down the strictly legal/professional route, you will find yourself dealing with family issues, fraud, contract law, tort, assaults, rape, murder, negligence, copyright issues, land disputes – the whole kaleidoscope of human quarrels and wrongdoing. You may start your day defending a young man who denies stealing a watch, move on to defending another who was driving at 100 miles an hour in a 20 mph zone and then change courtrooms and prosecute the owner of a taxi firm who firebombed his competitor’s office. Although, being an officer of the court is a varied, stressful, challenging, and highly rewarding career, no two weeks are ever the same.

Career options

If you are inclined to use a law degree as the first step toward taking up an administrative or advisory position, then there are many career openings:

  • Arbitrator
  • Company secretary
  • Costs lawyer
  • Licensed conveyancer
  • Tax consultancy
  • Social services
  • Publishing
  • Loss adjuster
  • Banking and finance
  • Legal consultancy
  • Public administration
  • NGOs

Europe - law courses taught in English

  • University of Groningen
  • Leiden University
  • KU Leuven
  • Tilburg University
  • Pantheon-Sorbonne University
  • Neapolis University, Pafos
  • Utrecht University
  • University of Helsinki
  • Free University of Berlin
  • University of Trento
  • Bocconi University

United Kingdom

  • University of Oxford
  • UCL, London
  • University of Cambridge
  • LSE, London
  • University of Leeds
  • King’s College, London
  • University of Exeter
  • Durham University
  • University of Bristol
  • Queen Mary, London
  • University of Nottingham
  • De Monfort University

Law and International law - what shall I study?

In many fields, it is quite feasible to decide to do a bachelor’s degree and just let the future look after itself. For example, you may enjoy learning languages and decide to study French and Spanish and leave all thoughts of a career until later. Similarly, you could opt for computer science and take a broad spread of modules, and wait for the fork in the career road to loom up in the future.

Nonetheless, this is not the case with law, where you have to know if you want to take one of three options. Firstly ask yourself whether you want to practise the law in the courts of your native country or another country. Secondly, would you prefer to work on the international stage and act as an advisor for trans-jurisdictional organizations and institutions? Thirdly, perhaps you want to combine your interest in the law with chemistry since you want the knowledge and transferable skills offered by a law degree to become a forensics specialist. Knowing your ultimate aim will help you choose the right course.


In conclusion, if you find the idea of sorting through the hundreds of degrees available at the bachelor’s level overwhelming and impossible, do not fear – Elab is here to rescue you and point you in the right direction. In addition, our consultants will work with you to find out what type of law degree is best suited to your skills, personality, and interests, and narrow your options down to a manageable list. Last but not least, we have mentors studying law who can guide you and tell you precisely what to expect and how they are finding studying law.

One indisputable fact is that law and international law is a well-paid, dynamic and multi-faceted career path. All you need to discover is your ultimate goal!

Study law and International law!

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