International Law
International Law

Studying international law has become essential to practicing law in the 21st century. Since the end of the Second World War, there has been an explosion of international legal instruments dealing with matters as diverse as human rights, economic and social development, the environment and trade. Globalization has internationalized a variety of issues that were once of only domestic concern. Canada’s laws are increasingly a hybrid of purely domestic regulations and laws implementing international obligations.

International Law at uOttawa: Open to the World

Knowledge of international law provides students with insight and skills beneficial in a wide variety of contexts, both domestic and international. Career opportunities range from traditional legal practice to work with international organizations, NGOs and government across a broad spectrum of legal and policy issues.

The uOttawa Faculty of Law is home to a large group of globally recognised scholars in the area of International Law. Members of the International Law Group engage in world-class research and make important contributions to public debate on international law issues. The International Law Group organizes regular talks and presentations by leading international lawyers on topical issues.

JD Students have access to the most extensive selection of international law courses in Canada and can specialize in international law by enrolling in the Option in International Law. uOttawa students can participate in international law activities outside the classroom, including international law moots, internships, clerkships and more than a dozen student organizations involved in international law issues. 

The Faculty prepares JD and graduate students from all over the world for careers in the practice of international law and in academia. Common Law alumni work in a wide range of international law settings worldwide.

JD Students

The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) offers an extensive program of courses in international law and many of our graduates go on to work as lawyers in international organizations, governments, law firms, businesses and NGOs.

We offer an International Law Option that allows students to develop a comprehensive understanding of public international law; to explore several specialized fields of international law, including international human rights and security, trade and investment, criminal, environmental, intellectual property, immigration and refugee, and business law; and to gain practical experience in the field through clinics, moots, and internships. 

Academic Opportunities

The Option in International Law for JD students provides a curriculum plan which identifies the courses that will give you the right training for a career in International Law. The Option also offers you the choice (not mandatory) to have your specialization in International Law noted on your transcript in order to indicate to future employers the special expertise you have developed in this area. A list of current courses that qualify for the Option in International Law can be found here.

Student Organizations

These student organizations are involved in a wide range of activities at the law school including speakers on international law subjects and career opportunities.

International Law Organizations
Clerkships and Internships

The University of Ottawa has placed a number of students as clerks at the International Court of Justice:

The University of Ottawa offers many opportunities for internships. These include:

  • Internship with the Canadian Yearbook of International Law
  • Internship with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Internship with Global Affairs Canada
  • Internship with the Canadian Council on International Law
  • Internship with the Department of Justice War Crimes Section
  • Internship at the International Court of Justice
  • Internships at the World Trade Organization in many divisions, including:
    • the Secretariat
    • the Appellate Body Secretariat
    • the Legal Affairs Division; and
    • the Rules Division.
  • Internship with the Justice Governance Group
  • Student-Proposed Internships
International Law Moots

Participating in a moot (a mock trial, negotiation or arbitration) is a great way for students to develop the skills involved in litigation and arbitration including public speaking, legal research and legal writing. uOttawa participates in the following moots in the area of International Law:

More information on how to participate in moots can be found here.

Graduate Studies

The University of Ottawa offers programs in law at the master’s and doctoral levels. Our programs provide students with an opportunity to work with Canada’s top public law scholars on core questions of public law as well as on emerging and evolving issues.

Master of Laws (LLM)

The LL.M. program facilitates rigorous academic study of pressing public questions. To learn more, we invite you to read about the degree requirements and faculty members working in this field.

Partner Universities

Thanks to agreements with our partner universities, LLM students can obtain a uOttawa LLM plus a LLM from one of the following universities:

These partnerships allow students to obtain two separate LLMs, one from uOttawa and one from a partner institution, in less time than would be required to obtain each individually. Our partner schools have agreed to recognize some uOttawa credits as counting toward the completion of their LLM degree. uOttawa will also recognize some credits obtained at our partner institutions. Please click the links above for details about these opportunities.

International Humanitarian and Security Law

The field of International Humanitarian and Security Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa encompasses not only the study of the established laws of armed conflict, but also includes legal scholarship on contemporary challenges to peace and collective security.  Students completing the LL.M. with concentration in International Humanitarian and Security Law have a unique opportunity to study and work on crucial issues of international law, conflict resolution, national security, and peace building.

We invite you to explore the Program Requirements and Course Descriptions.

International Trade and Investment Law

International trade and investment law is central to the workings of our interdependent economies.  Almost all countries have trade and investment relationships with their neighbours, or within wider groupings.  Regional trade agreements and bilateral investment agreements number in the thousands, and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has attained a pre-eminence few international organisations can claim.  Yet, international trade and investment law has an impact well beyond the purely “economic” sphere and is a key component of the resolution of global issues. For instance, problems related to climate change cannot be resolved satisfactorily without reference to trade and investment disciplines.  Even the task of dealing with global health issues has required at times an incursion into trade and investment law.

We invite you to explore the Program Requirements and Course Descriptions. 

Global Sustainability and Environmental Law

Issues of global sustainability and environmental law are among the most pressing and complex issues at the global, national and local levels. From the UN to Canadian municipalities, and from multinational corporations to individual citizens, attempts to meet the challenges of global sustainability are evolving at an ever-increasing rate. The role of environmental law in addressing these issues is the focus of the LL.M. with concentration in Global Sustainability and Environmental Law.

We invite you to explore the Program Requirements and Course Descriptions.

Ph.D. Students

The Ph.D. degree provides students with advanced training in academic research to prepare them to pursue a career in academe. These research skills can also be used to pursue careers with governmental and non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and other policy organizations. The admission process is competitive and only the most outstanding applicants are selected. For information on how to apply to the Ph.D. program, please click here.

Contact Us

International Law Group Co-Chairs

Prof. Anthony VanDuzer (bio)

Prof. Pacifique Manirakiza (bio)

Prof. Patrick Dumberry (bio)

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Stay informed on the latest from the International Law Group.

Research & Publications
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