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Leiden University

International Law in Action: the Arbitration of International Disputes

Leiden University via Coursera


‘The Arbitration of International Disputes’ is the third course of Leiden University’s series on International Law in Action. The first course covered generalities on the international courts and tribunals in The Hague, while the second course provided an insider's perspective into the work of international criminal courts and tribunals. This third course explores the major aspects of international arbitration as one of the most common method of international dispute settlement . Through this course you will gain an in-depth understanding of the various facets of international arbitration through the analysis of its role as a mechanism of dispute settlement, its institutions, the fields of law it is applicable to, and, of course, its most famous awards.

The main question we will answer together during this course is "Can international arbitration contribute to the creation of a peaceful world through the settlement of disputes between States and between States and non-State actors?" In order to do so, we will learn the basic historical concepts or arbitration, as well as everything there is to know about the Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague. We will then dive into the role of international arbitration in settling disputes relating to the Law of the Sea, with a particular insight into the landmark South China Sea Arbitration. For an entire module, we will focus on investment arbitration, its principles and the procedure of the ICSID, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. We will conclude the course with a module on the interplay between state immunity and enforcement of arbitral awards. This is brought to light through the Yukos Arbitration which is a perfect illustration of the topic.

This course offers you an opportunity to gain a better insight into international arbitration, its role and the current issues relating to it. You will gain in-depth knowledge of the principles and rules of arbitration. You will explore the topic through concrete examples and the most prominent arbitrations. You will also grasp the notion of international arbitration navigating between law and politics. International arbitration and The Hague go hand in hand: several key arbitration institutes are located in The Hague and important disputes were settled here through arbitration. The Hague is, so to speak, ‘the place to be for international arbitration’, especially when we are dealing with arbitration between States, or arbitration of investment disputes between foreign investors and States.

Join us for the course and become an expert on international arbitration!

This course is free to join and to participate in. There is the possibility to get a verified certificate for the course, which is a paid option. If you want a certificate, but are unable to pay for it, you can request financial aid via Coursera.


  • Welcome to the course
    • Welcome ! Before you start we invite you to first go through our introduction module and introduce yourself in the forum to meet your fellow learners. If you encounter any difficulties while studying, please let us know in the forum. For technical difficulties or questions regarding the course certificate, you can always contact the Coursera Learner Center. Good luck & we hope you will enjoy this course.
  • The History and General Principles of International Arbitration
    • Have you read all the tips for studying online? Are you ready to delve into the world of dispute settlement through international arbitration? This week, you will learn the history of international arbitration and the general principles of international arbitration. We will also discuss the work of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and its role as administrator of arbitrations.
  • Arbitration and the Law of the Sea
    • This week will explore the role of international arbitration in settling disputes between States under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS). Why do States choose arbitration to settle their disputes regarding the law of the sea? To answer this question, we will study how arbitration fits into the complex dispute settlement architecture of UNCLOS, and discuss the option given to States parties to choose either arbitration or settlement through adjudication before the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. We will conclude this week with an analysis of the famous dispute between the Philippines and China in relation to the parties' maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. Through this case, you will learn how arbitration navigates between law and politics.
  • Investment Arbitration
    • Do you remember, from the first week, the different types of parties to a dispute? What makes an arbitration 'mixed'? This week, we will focus on investment treaty arbitration, the most notable example of arbitration between States and non-State actors. I will introduce you to the main principles of investment treaty arbitration, and the procedure at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
  • State Immunity and the Enforcement & Validity of International Arbitral Decision
    • What happens after an arbitral award has been rendered? Can an award be invalidated? How are arbitral awards enforced? This week, we will see how a ‘valid’ decision can be rendered and what the parties who are dissatisfied with a decision can or cannot do. More specifically, you will learn about the aftermath of the Yukos Arbitration, an investment arbitration that perfectly illustrates the interplay between state immunity and the enforcement of arbitral awards.

Taught by

Eric De Brabandere and Giulia Pinzauti


4.9 rating, based on 19 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 1094 ratings

Start your review of International Law in Action: the Arbitration of International Disputes

  • Profile image for Pablo Colina Fonseca
    Pablo Colina Fonseca
    Recently, I finished the "Arbitration of International Disputes" Course. I think is a very insteresting and useful course. The videos made by Professor Eric De Branbandere and Professor Giulia Pinzauti, who are high-quality professionals, are very informative and explain so well the different themes mading up each module. The material encompasses required readings and optional readings. By reviewing and analyzing each reading, you can understand more and more why arbitration is one of the most preferred means to settle international disputes. Having a diverse content, through this course you can get a landscape picture of most important fora for international arbitration.
  • Anonymous
    Recently, I finished the "Arbitration of International Disputes" Course. I think is a very insteresting and useful course. The videos made by Professor Eric De Brandebere and Professor Giulia Pinzauti, who are high-quality professionals, are very informative and explain so well the different themes mading up each module. The material encompasses required readings and optinal readings. By reviewing and analyzing each reading, you can understand more and more why arbitration is one of the most preferred means to settle international disputes. Having a diverse contents, through this course you can get a landscape picture of most importa fora for international arbitration.
  • Anonymous
    An admittedly very demanding course which requires dedication and extended studying and research. Both professors are significantly enlightening and equip the sudents with valuable knowledge on topic of International Arbitration. Personally, I acquired extensive comprehension in this particular area of Law and feel deeply grateful for the lectures and overal experience. I recommend the course to anyone who intends to study the International Arbitration. The effort is totally worth it.
  • Anonymous
    Class was interesting, flexible. Videos were clear and explanation consise.

    The delivery was superb and the questions quite refreshing. I appreciated the additional reading resource provided.

    The community of students provided a robust discuss on the issues raised

    Thank you so much.
  • Anonymous
    Well, I have enjoyed learning about International Arbitration. It was really interesting course. Eric and Giulia teach very well, and I have feel their enthusiasm about International Arbitration. I´m lawyer, and It was the beginning of new way befor…
  • Anonymous
    the course is very informative as i earned news learnings on topics that are mostly new to me. it expanded my knowledge on arbitration and gave me a wider horizon on the great opportunities in the field of arbitration both domestic and international…
    I wish to first express my appreciation to the presenters of this Course for the professional and eloquent manner in which they presented the course materials. I will also like to comment on the structure of the course which allowed me to work at my…
  • Anonymous
    I have immensely benefited from the course on International Law in Action: Arbitration of International Disputes. Modules like those on UNCLOS, ICSID and State’s immunity to enforcement of arbitral awards were very informative, well presented and we…
  • Profile image for Beatrice Alexa
    Beatrice Alexa
    I enjoyed all of it !!! The teachers are great and the information was up-to-date and very well presented , in a very clear and comprehensive way . The videos are well-structured , the readings offer more insight into the matter , and there is opti…
  • Anonymous
    Extremely helpful in understanding the baseline concepts of International Arbitration and then to further build on it with relevant reading material. I appreciate that that the course specifically dealt with Investment Arbitration. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in learning about International Arbitration.
  • This is an excellent course, which makes a complex subject understandable. I had no practical legal background other than having worked as a Legal Secretary, and found it easy to learn from. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in this varied and fascinating topic. I had to work at it, but learned a great deal and really enjoyed it.
  • Anonymous
    I found the course is very very good, I learned a lot such as all information that I need to word in the arbitration feed, and what the law of the sea is, and negotiation, I know that I will be better good after this good, but the exams are more different than the exams in my faculty hh.
  • Anonymous
    This course provided by Coursera helped me understand how international law works in practice and the dispute resolve mechanism through arbitration at international level. I gained knowledge regarding international arbitration, about various forums at which arbitrations can be held and many more. I would like to thank the course instructors Dr. Giulia and Dr Eric for providing such an amazing learning experience. It was a whole hearted effort from the instructors to make the learners understand the basic concepts.
  • Profile image for Aishwarya Jayakumar
    Aishwarya Jayakumar
    Perfect course to understand International Arbitration. The videos and the Professors have explained the subject in a very insightful manner. Anyone who is interested to pursue their career in the field of ADR should take up this course.

  • Anonymous
    I have learnt so much from this course. The explanation and readings to this course are clear and can be easily accessed. The platform that was made was exciting and was flexible to my daily routine. Thank you.
  • Oshafi Honour Believe
    There is so much to say, but to say the least this course exposed me to a novel side of arbitration I was not conversant with. Words like UNCLOS, ISCID makes more sense now. Great course!
  • Anonymous
    I am really delightful to say that this course that I had just completed had been of great help to me. Not only the modules I had opted for were in relevance to the degree I was pursuing but the faculty was such that they inculcated a lot many things besides the topic! Once again thanks to the faculty.
  • Anonymous
    Very helpful and educational course . Loved completing the course. Material was perfect for knowledge and better understanding. I hope that i will further do another course from Coursera because it have unique material of subjects and all content is very easy to understand.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed every minute of this fascinating course dealing with international arbitration, an entirely new area of law to me. Quizzes were useful to test learning and understanding of each module.

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