The Public International Law program begins with a two-week introductory course, the first week of which is taken jointly by students in both programs. Classes in the PIL program then provide an overview of the international law of human rights and the more specialized protections applicable to refugees, as well as the interrelationship between these bodies of law. Students are introduced to the law governing the conduct of armed conflict and to the crimes for which individuals incur individual criminal responsibility under international law, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.


  • Introduction to Public International Law (the first week is taken jointly with students in the International Business Law program) (3 credits)
  • International Protection of Human Rights and Refugees (3 credits)
  • The Law of Armed Conflict and International Crimes (3 credits)

Course Descriptions [PDF 475 KB]

Typical Field Study Destinations 

  • Canadian High Commission (London)
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (London)
  • UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (The Hague)
  • International Criminal Court (The Hague)
  • International Court of Justice (The Hague)
  • Special Tribunal for Lebanon (The Hague)
  • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (The Hague)
  • Canadian Mission to the United Nations (Geneva)
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)
  • Office of The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Geneva)
  • United Nations - Palais des Nations (Geneva)

Instructors (Full Bios)


Nicolas Lamp is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University, and the Academic Director of the International Law Programs. Previous to joining Queen’s, Professor Lamp was a Dispute Settlement Lawyer at the Appellate Body Secretariat of the World Trade Organization.

Alison_Mitchell_300x200.jpg Ms. Alison Mitchell is a lawyer and diplomat at Global Affairs Canada, specializing in the law of armed conflict, international human rights law, international criminal law, targeted sanctions, and the law of the sea. Prior to joining Global Affairs, she served as an assistant legal officer at the International Criminal Court.
Hugh Adsett Mr. Hugh Adsett is a lawyer and foreign service officer, and has worked for Global Affairs Canada since 1995, with assignments in Ottawa as the Legal Adviser and Director General of the Legal Affairs Bureau; Director General of the Foreign Policy Bureau; and assignments in the Legal Bureau in the human rights and humanitarian law division; the environmental law division, and the criminal, security and diplomatic law division; as well as postings abroad to Canada’s Embassy to Ethiopia and to Canada’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.  
Michael_Schoiswohl_300x200.jpg Mr. Michael Schoiswohl is the Principal Legal Officer (International Law) at the Department of Legal Affairs of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine and Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). He has held various positions within the United Nations in the field of human rights, legal affairs, rule of law and development, including in post-conflict situations (Afghanistan).
Ardi Imseis Mr. Ardi Imseis is an Assistant Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University and Associate Academic Director of International Law Programs at BISC. Between 2002 and 2014, he served in senior legal and policy capacities with the United Nations in the Middle East and is former Senior Legal Counsel to the Chief Justice of Alberta.
2_phillip_drew_300x200.jpg Professor Phillip Drew is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University College of Law. He was an officer in the Canadian Military for 31 years, serving first as an Intelligence Officer, then as a legal officer with Office of the Judge Advocate General.
N_Farrell_300x200.jpg Mr. Norman Farrell is the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Prior to this appointment Mr. Farrell was the Deputy Prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well he as well as being Senior Appeals Counsel for the Office of the Prosecutor at the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). 

Learn more about the course International Protection of Human Rights and Refugees