During each of the two periods of the Summer session, there is a General Course and a series of Special Courses. The General Course lasts for the entire three weeks (15 hours) of the Public International Law period and is spread over two weeks (10 hours) during the Private International Law period.
GENERAL COURSES ( daily- morning - compulsory)
These courses highlight developments within the field of international law, and provide attendees with the opportunity to take a step backwards and, through an overall view and a comprehensive reflection, grasp the main lines of the discipline around which legal thinking is structured.
SPECIAL COURSES (daily - morning - compulsory)
These courses, consisting of 5 hours total spread out over one week, deal with a particular question or topic, and are given by lecturers who have studied the subject extensively and are specialists in the field.
SEMINARS (weekly - afternoon - optional)
All professors give seminars related to the subject of their course. During these interactive meetings, attendees have an opportunity to ask questions, to obtain additional information on the course, and to participate in discussions.
DIRECTED STUDIES AND DIPLOMA (afternoon – admission upon selection)
The Directed Studies are conducted under the guidance of a professor. They are specifically designed for high-level students, who wish to prepare themselves for the Diploma examination of the Academy, or who are simply interested to participate in seminars delving more deeply into questions of public or private international law without sitting for the examination. The latter consists of a five-hour written test on a subject that has both theoretical and practical aspects. Candidates who pass this first part of the examination then have to take an oral examination.
At the end of the period, the participants who regularly attended the courses receive a certificate of attendance.
In addition to the courses, seminars, and Directed Studies that constitute the core of the summer programme, the Academy organizes several other activities for its attendees. The purpose of these is, first and foremost, to supplement their knowledge of international law with practical and concrete insights, giving them a better grasp of its effects and scope.
Secondly, they help each attendee to establish a network among the hundred different nationalities present. Both of these elements have proven successful in making their stay at the Academy one which they will long remember.
With this in mind:
1. The Academy organizes at its premises lectures on the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the various international criminal courts and tribunals and other international legal organizations based in The Hague. The lectures are given by members of these institutions and are followed by question-and-answer sessions.
2. The Academy also organizes visits to these institutions, allowing students to discover their premises and to understand how they function in practice, inter alia by attending hearings.
3. When the International Court of Justice hands down a judgment during the session, arrangements are made to allow the students to follow this event in real time in the most appropriate way.
4. At the request of the Academy, many ambassadors based in The Hague agree to receive groups of attendees to explain to them what the role and activities of an embassy are and to give them direct insight into the diplomatic profession, and the concrete role that diplomacy plays in the conduct of international relations.
5. Doctoral students from different countries who are working on identical or related topics are given the opportunity to regularly meet throughout the session, under the guidance of a lecturer or practitioner who is specifically assigned for this purpose. These doctoral networking meetings allow students to share their views, insights and different approaches with respect to issues relating to their research topics, leading to reciprocal exchanges that can of course be continued after their stay at the Academy.
6. Sales of legal publications are held each course week in the Academy’s entrance hall. These comprise books from different legal publishers as well as the Collected Courses of the Academy, offered at a special discounted price, and its Pocketbooks series.