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What are the strengths and weaknesses of the “sources” of Public International Law? Discuss how they differ from the sources of law used in Australia and in particular the common law?
Question:

1)    What are the strengths and weaknesses of the “sources” of Public International Law? Discuss how they differ from the sources of law used in Australia and in particular the common law?

Instructions:

1.    Please write only 1500 words in total (references in footnotes not included). If you fail to comply with the 1500 word limit “the whole of the assessment item shall be marked” but then you will be “penalised according to the following formula”:

i.    0-10% excess: no penalty;
ii.    11-30% excess: 15% of the total marks available;
iii.    31-50% excess: 30% of the total marks available; and
iv.    51% plus excess: 50% of the total marks available.

2.    You must adopt a particular standard for referencing the materials you use. You will need to cite these in the footnotes to your assignment. You should adopt theAustralian Guide for Legal Citations (AGLC) which is commonly used by legal scholars. You can access it online as a PdF document. We have included a brief guide to the AGLC,produced by some other institution, in the Research Essay folder on blackboard. You must include a bibliography at the end of the assignment. This can include materials that you have not used in your footnotes but which have influenced you in writing your paper.

Marking criteria and some helpful suggestions:

The detailed criteria sheet that we will use for this assessment item is attached as Annex 1 to this document. It contains guidelines in terms of how we plan to mark your essay. You will receive the criteria sheet in Annex 1 with our comments on it in addition to anything else we may write on your actual essay itself. Generally speaking, you will receive marks for:
(1)    The quality of yourdiscussion and analysis, and the structure of your answer(15%).
(2)    The quality of the research you have done to answer the question and how well you have integrated what you have found into your written answer (10%).
(3)    How well you have written your assignment, checked your spelling and grammar and generally proofread your work. (5%).

(a)    This assignment is designed to add to your learning experiences in this course. During weeks 3 – 7 you will have had the chance to learn about the basic features of Public International Law (PIL). You need this knowledge to further develop your understanding of the role that PIL plays in the global community.This assignment asks you to explore how PIL is created and by whom and what are some of its strengths and weaknesses.

(b)    This assignment requires that you do extra research. You should have plenty of materials in your reading pack to get you started. However, the depth of your understanding and the originality of your answer will need to be shaped by the quality of the research that you do and how well you integrate what you find into your answer. In order to do so, you will need to find out what scholarly materials are out there, to select relevant materials from journal articles and books, to read them, take notes, and start constructing an answer by putting together what you find appealing. Spend some time searching for key words related to your topic, browsing the links you find on each page, and following their suggested/recommended reading sources. One way to start your research is to look through the bibliography of books, references in journals and book chapters. Amongst the lists you will find references to materials that you can look through and read.

Your paper should emerge from your research: once you have read, noted and synthesised the knowledge you had in front of you. Always keep in mind the question you have chosen to answer and structure your writing according to the main themes that you want to cover. If you have any troubles finding extra resources for your answer, please do ask librarians to assist you in finding and sourcing new and relevant materials.

(c)    It is important for us to see how well you have understood this assignment question as well as what we have prescribed for you to read in weeks 3 – 7. The question should make sense only if you have applied yourself during the early stages of the semester and have been reading the prescribed materials for this course.

(d)    You will notice that 15% of the marks allocated for this assignment arefor the quality of your analysis of the question, the prescribed readings materials, and the issues that you choose to evaluate. However, the other marks for this assignment will also be allocated on the basis of how well you have integrated your research into an answer that makes sense. Please avoiddescribing anything in so much detail that you leave yourself no room to engage in analysis.

What might a pass, credit, distinction and high distinction look like?

Pass
•    Your summary of the researchyou read is the only part of your work that is cogent and reads well.
•    Simply repeating what you have read from the textbook and combining this with some of your own thoughts.
•    Only parts of your essay directly address the substance of the question and then it is mostly descriptive of the basic frameworks in international law.
•    You place very heavy reliance on just a couple of research essays to answer the essay question.
•    Your answer to the question reveals that you have not adequately understood what the
questionwants from you. In some cases your description of key concepts and ideas is inaccurate or very undirected.

Credit
•    Your answers to question make sense and it follows a structure that takes us to a conclusion or an argument that you are trying to make.
•    You not only refer to ideas that come from reading the materials for 1028Law,and have thought about your reactions to them and have critically evaluated them in the essay.
•    You articulate the issues that you want to discuss, and evaluate ideas and examples to address them.
•    You use good examples that show you have not only understood the question(s) but also the materials that you have read. Sometimes these examples come from you or the research that you have done.
•    Your essay answers the question. That is, wewill not have to think about whether parts of your essay are relevant to answering the question or not.
•    You make references to a variety of different views (including yours) in responding to the question. These views might come from research papers, books, internet materials, etc. You research might be thorough but you do not use all of the materials that you find to substantiate your arguments or to shape your thinking on relevant issues.

Distinction.
•    You have one or two main points and they are discussed and evaluated in much detail.
•    You have read various journal articles and have thought about what they say. You draw on the readings to critically discuss ideas that might contradict what you want to say or argue in your essay. You may choose to combine your own ideas with those from the readings that are most relevant to the particular focus that you are seeking to develop in your answer to the essay question.
•    Your examples are succinct and focus your reader on the main argument that you will be making in your essay.
•    Your work is polished. This means that your statements are tightly developed without lots of unnecessary words. You do not say the same thing more than once. Importantly, your reader does not have to try and double guess what you are saying because of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
•    You have found a lot of different materials (research papers, books and so on) to support your arguments and have employed them to answering the question. You do not just cite the research but actually make use of them in developing your arguments in a particular direction.
•    Your views in response to the question(s) are analytically sharp because you have understood the question you have been asked.

High Distinction
•    All of the above points made under the distinction heading.
•    The focus and critical assessment in your arguments responding to the question are tightly developed and novel or original in some way.
•    Your own ideas in response to the question are novel and contribute to the originality of how you frame your answer. Please note that this should not be confused with simply sharing your thoughts. Original or novel ideas rely on knowing what is already in the literature you are referring to.
•    You have managed to see conceptual connections between the different research articles and books that you have found and have used them to frame your response and develop your critical engagement with the issues you raise in your work.
Your research is very thorough (that is, you refer to a lot of materials that shed light on what you want to say). You have also managed to refer to writers whose views are cited more often than others and whose work carries weight. That is, you have shown some discretion in terms of whose work you have chosen to use and refer to in drafting your response to the question.

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