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Short Course: Cyber Operations and International Law

Course Outline

Offensive cyber operations continue to draw significant attention in mainstream media and political discourse as the targeting of systems such as those relating to critical national infrastructure remain a major concern for states and the private sector alike. This course is designed to tackle the most pressing questions and issues relating to the application of international law to cyberspace by examining the attributes of cyber operations to understand the challenges they pose for existing frameworks of international law.

The course deals substantively with underlying normative issues concerning the application of international law to cyber operations in an accessible manner with sessions that are grounded in practical case studies. The course covers different views on the relationship between the principle of sovereignty and cyber operations, including discussion of relevant corollary rules and obligations of conduct, and extends to include consideration of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The course begins with a general introduction to cybersecurity and concludes with a discussion of alternative approaches to cyber governance.

By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Understand underlying issues of cybersecurity, different kinds of cyber operations and the challenges they present for international law
  • Understand different views on the principle of sovereignty and its relationship with cyber operations
  • Understand debates among states and commentators over key areas of contention in the application of international law to cyber operations
  • Be able to take a real or hypothetical cyber-scenario and identify relevant legal rules or principles that are implicated
  • Gain an understanding of the relevant rules and principles of international law covered by the course that is beneficial beyond the cyber-context

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Indicative course topics

  • Introduction to Cybersecurity and International Law
  • International human rights law and cyber operations
  • The Principle of Sovereignty and Cyber Operations
  • Due diligence obligations and cyber operations
  • Cyber operations, non-intervention, use of force and countermeasures
  • International humanitarian law and cyber operations
  • Alternative approaches to cyber governance

Testimonials from past attendees

"I liked the pace of the course as it allowed me to study and absorb the material"

"The interactive parts of the IHL sessions were very good."

"Many thanks for an excellent course."

Who is the course for?

The course is suitable for a wide range of participants interested in the application of public international law to cyber operations, including government representatives, NGO representatives, legal practitioners, in-house counsel, academics, students and other professionals. The course is intended to be relevant and accessible to lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

Course format

This course is offered as an online course providing 8 x 2 hours sessions.

Course cost

The course cost is £775 per person.

Course Discounts

Member discount: 15% discount for individual members of BIICL
Details of individual memberships at BIICL 

Group discounts:

  • 15% discount for groups of 3 or more attendees from NGO organisations or staff of government
  • 15% discount for groups of 5 or more attendees from commercial organisations

*Course cost is subject to change 


The British Institute of International and Comparative Law is committed to equality and opportunity in the legal profession and to support greater engagement of under-represented groups in the legal profession.

In our efforts in this regard we are delighted to offer 3 scholarships for each of our short courses to participants from communities and backgrounds currently under-represented in the legal community.

Find out more about training scholarships 

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