By examining primary materials focused on the normative context within which the United Nations functions, students will develop an understanding of the interaction between law and practice. This is essential to a proper understanding of the UN Organization, but also to the possibilities and limitations of multilateral institutions more generally. The course is organized in four parts. Part I, “Relevance”, raises some preliminary questions about the legitimacy and effectiveness of the United Nations, particularly in the area of peace and security. Part II, “Capacity”, brings together materials on the nature and status of the United Nations. Part III, “Practice”, examines how the United Nations has exercised its various powers. Part IV, “Accountability”, concludes with materials on responsibility and accountability of the United Nations and its agents.