International Commercial Law LLM


Fact file

LLM International Commercial Law
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent) in Law, or a degree involving a substantial element of legal study
Other requirements
7.0 (with no less than 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading and 6.0 in speaking and listening)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This course examines how a globalised economy requires commercial law to meet a variety of challenges, from the transactional to the regulatory, from shipping to finance, or from access to markets, to dispute resolution.
Read full overview

An increasingly globalised economy requires commercial law to meet a wide variety of exciting challenges, from the transactional to the regulatory, from shipping to finance, or from access to markets, to dispute resolution. 

The LLM International Commercial Law reflects international business in its diversity, innovation, and contemporary relevance. The school boasts an internationally renowned team of international commercial lawyers, combining established experts with exciting early-career scholars. Published scholarship is extensive, with every member of the academic staff engaged in high quality research.

The International Commercial Law programme covers several areas of special interest:

  • International Trade and Maritime Law
  • Private International Law/Conflict of Laws
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Public Procurement
  • Commercial Law of the European Union
  • The World Trade Organization
  • Banking and Finance Law

Key facts

  • The School of Law was ranked 41st best law school in the world by the QS World Rankings 2016
  • The school enjoys professional relationships with international institutions, leading UK law firms, private industry and consultancies, and non-governmental organisations
  • We have a dedicated Legal Skills Advisor who delivers workshops and one-to-one sessions on issues such as time management, how to answer a problem question, how to research and reference, and how to choose a dissertation topic

Course details

The LLM programme is offered on a full-time basis, to be completed in one academic year; and a part-time basis, to be completed in two academic years.

Students must complete at least 90 credits worth of modules from the qualifying specialist module options for the LLM International Commercial Law. The remaining 30 credits needed to complete the taught stage of the degree can be chosen from the full suite of modules offered across all of our LLM programmes. 

In addition, students must choose a dissertation topic which sits within the field of International Commercial Law. Students are given a wide array of support when choosing their dissertation title and preparing to undertake research, with bespoke workshops and one-to-one support available throughout the process. 


The LLM programme operates small-group seminar teaching, allowing for an integrative and interactive learning experience. Students are encouraged and expected to prepare for and participate in seminars so that they get the maximum benefit from teaching sessions.

All seminars offer dedicated teaching, open only to postgraduate students, including postgraduate research students, where the module option is relevant to a student’s doctoral research.

Modular assessments

Students are given the opportunity to complete formative assessments in both the autumn and spring term, which acts as a practice assignment that does not contribute towards their degree. Rather, formative assessments provide valuable feedback which can be utilised constructively when completing summative assessments.

All summative assessments take place at the end of the spring term; this includes assessments for autumn options. Modules are assessed by either essay, examination, or a combination of both.



Qualifying module options

Advanced Copyright and Design Law

The module will deal with special issues in copyright and international exploitation of copyright works at advanced level. 

First of all we will look in depth at the basic elements of copyright and we will do so via a case study on sensory copyright (smells and taste). Our attention will then turn to enforcement and injunctions against intermediaries, and also jurisdictions issues and choice of law issues (ubiquitous infringement). On the EU side we will look at exhaustion (digital exhaustion) and competition law. 

Finally we will look at fair use and the protection of derivative works.

This module aims to:

  • facilitate the understanding and knowledge at an advanced level of the nature and function of specific issues of copyright law, relating to new technologies
EU Competition Law

The module examines the legal regulation of competition within the single and free market of the EU and serves as an introduction to basic legal and economic principles as well as to detailed study of the rules of Union law which seek to outlaw competitive behaviour.

This module aims to:

  • provide an advanced level course on the European Union Competition Law
International and Comparative Copyright Law

The module will deal with the basic principles of copyright law at an advanced level. British copyright law will be studied with reference to the international and European obligations of the United Kingdom in this respect. This covers an introduction to copyright law, subject-matter of protection, authorship, ownership and dealings, economic and moral rights, term of protection, infringement and defences.

This module aims to:

  • facilitate the understanding and knowledge at an advanced level of the nature and function of copyright law
International and Comparative Patent Law

The module will deal with the basic principles of patent law and it will do so from an international and comparative perspective. Special attention will be paid to European and US patent law before attention will turn to biotechnological inventions and a case study on stem cell patents.

This module aims to:

  • facilitate the understanding and knowledge at an advanced level of nature and function of patent law as well as of specific issues of patent law, in relation to biotechnological inventions
International and Comparative Trade Mark Law

The module will deal with the basic principles of trade mark law and it will do so from an international and comparative perspective. Special attention will be paid to European and US trade mark law before attention will turn to passing-off and comparative advertising issues.

This module aims to:

  • facilitate the understanding and knowledge at an advanced level of nature and function of trade mark law as well as of specific issues related to trade mark law, such as passing-off and comparative advertising
International Aspects of Corporate Law and Insolvency

The first part of the module focuses on international aspects of company law. Questions examined include: 

  • whether traditional rules of company law operate properly in the multinational enterprise context
  • whether harmonization of company laws is achievable and whether it is desirable

The second part focuses on international insolvency, in particular examining global models for cross-border insolvency. Questions examined include: 

  • where the insolvency proceedings of a multinational enterprise should take place
  • which laws should apply to the global insolvency process? 
  • how should the multinational enterprise group in insolvency be dealt with

This module aims to:

  • provide the space to discuss and analyse specific and current issues of company and insolvency law in an international context
International Commercial Arbitration

This module offers the fundamentals of international commercial arbitration, the most important dispute resolution mechanism for international business transactions.

The module begins with the legal framework of international commercial arbitration. It then deals with jurisdiction of arbitration tribunals and certain procedural issues arising in arbitration practice. The module ends with the setting aside and recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. 

The course focuses mainly on English law of arbitration which is put in comparative perspective and compared and contrasted especially with the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.

This module aims to:

  • develop a knowledge and understanding of principles and main rules of international commercial arbitration
  • develop the students' ability to identify and resolve main issues arising in arbitration practice
  • develop an understanding of the place that international commercial arbitration occupies in commercial practice and how it relates to other dispute resolution mechanisms, especially international commercial litigation
International Consumer Protection

The module examines the role of the law in regulating business and protecting the consumer. 

It begins by looking at economic and social theories of regulation, identifying what we seek to achieve through regulating, and why regulation is necessary in a competitive market. Next, it examines how we regulate by identifying and critiquing the techniques of regulation. The module then examines how businesses can be held to account through sanctioning, both under the criminal law and in other ways. 

This module aims to:

  • consider the role of law in consumer protection from a global perspective
International Financial and Monetary Law

This module focuses on the public law regulation of international financial and monetary relations, and not on the contractual or transactional aspects of international financial markets. It aims to provide a timely and insightful overview of current regulatory developments in the field of capital and current international transactions as well as financial and monetary stability and supervision. 

The module also considers the role of major institutions in the regulation of international lending and finance for development. 

This module aims to:

  • provide an understanding of how the international financial and monetary system is regulated
  • describe the key regulatory techniques used in financial and monetary regulation
International Investment Law

This module deals with key aspects of the international system for the regulation of foreign investment. The module focuses primarily on issues arising from investor-host state relations under Bilateral Investment Treaties or BITs and some other International Investment Agreements or IIAs but also touches upon international investment contracts, where relevant.

Special attention will be given to the means of regulating investment using such instruments, including standards of treatment and breaches thereof, the taking of foreign property and the settlement of investment disputes by means of arbitration.

This module aims to:

  • develop an understanding of how the international system for the regulation of foreign investment and investment arbitration operates in principle and in practice
International Law of the Sea

The module will consider:

  • the history and evolution of the law of the sea 
  • baselines, internal waters and the territorial sea 
  • straits, archipelagos and the contiguous zone
  • the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone 
  • the high seas
  • the international seabed area and ice-covered areas

This module aims to:

  • provide participants with knowledge and understanding of the basic legal framework governing use of the seas
International Relations Law of the EU

This module is concerned with the EU's attempts to assert its international identity.

Subjects being examined will include:

  • the issue of competence and effectiveness of the EU as a global actor
  • the Common Commercial Policy
  • the EU/WTO relationship
  • international development
  • human rights conditions in trade/development agreements
  • common foreign and security policy
  • the EU as a 'regional superpower'

This module aims to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of a specialised and constantly evolving area of European Law
International Sale of Goods

This module deals with international sales of goods, as they are conducted in the international commodity markets according to the rules of English law. It does not cover the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods 1980 and similar instruments.

This module aims to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the international sale of goods in those cases where English law is the applicable law of contract
Law of International Carriage of Goods by Sea

This module considers the legal regime applicable to the carriage of goods by sea and, in particular, the legal relationship between the shipper (or owner of the goods), the carrier (shipowners) and the recipient (consignee) of the goods shipped.

This module aims to:

  • develop a knowledge and understanding of the law relating to the international carriage of goods by sea
  • analyse and critically evaluate the most important standard charterparty forms, the bill of lading, and the international conventions affecting sea carriage
Law of International Trade Finance

The module addresses the private law relating to the financial aspects of international trade, especially payment mechanisms and guarantees.

Emphasis is placed upon the rules promulgated by the International Chamber of Commerce.

This module aims to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the private law, both domestic and international, governing financial techniques employed in international trade
Law of Marine Insurance

This module addresses the law relating to the contractual provision of marine insurance, particularly insurance of hulls and cargo, by the London insurance market. Considerable emphasis is placed upon the contractual clauses promulgated by the International Underwriting Association of London.

This module aims to:

  • develop knowledge of the law of marine insurance and its contribution to the private law of international trade 
  • build an understanding of the application of contract law to the needs of commerce
Maritime Law

The module is designed to address the law relating to maritime casualties, their aftermath and transactions associated with shipping.

This module aims to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of several interacting area of law
  • develop an awareness of the contribution of law to crisis management in the context of a maritime casualty
Public Procurement in EU and International Trade Law

This module examines the regulation of government procurement at international level for the purpose of opening up government markets to free trade.

This module aims to:

  • provide a detailed examination of the system under EU Law, which has provided a model for other international systems
  • provide a detailed examination of government procurement regulation in the WTO
Public Procurement Law

This module examines issues relating to the regulation of public procurement from perspectives other than trade liberalisation. Issues covered include:

  • the pursuit of value for money through competition
  • avoidance of corruption
  • outsourcing
  • procurement for privately-financed infrastructure projects

The module pays particular attention to the UNCITRAL Model Law on procurement and the procurement rules for developing countries' projects financed by the World Bank.

The World Trading System

This module deals with key aspects of World Trade Organisation Law. It focuses on:

  • the institutional and organisational structure of the WTO and dispute settlement
  • GATT (dealing with tariffs and other barriers to import of goods)
  • GATS (the agreement regulating international trade in services) 
  • rules on unfair trade such as anti-dumping, subsidies and safeguards

Some attention is also paid to the relationship between regionalism and globalisation and to the issues of preferential trade and development.

This module aims to:

  • build an understanding of how the World Trading System operates
  • provide an understanding of the challenges of regionalism and development to the World Trading System


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Up-to-date fees information can be found on our student fees and finance website.

All students

The School of Law advertises a variety of funding opportunities each year, please see the funding opportunities webpage for further information.

Please also visit the Graduate School's online funding database for information about additional masters scholarships. 

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Applications for 2016 entry scholarships will open in late 2015. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Our postgraduate students move into an extraordinarily wide range of careers. Many graduates either go into the legal profession or return to their previous legal careers with their experience and prospects enhanced by their experiences on the course. A large number also work with NGOs, or return to their countries with the relevant skills to help add to the future development of that country.

A selection of LLM graduates progress onto our PhD programme each year, in order to progress their academic career. These students often choose to stay at The University of Nottingham beyond their doctorate, with a number of our current lecturers having completed both the LLM and PhD programmes with us before becoming members of staff. 

Average starting salary and career progression

Over 94% of our postgraduates who were available for work entered employment or further study within the first six months after graduation. The average starting salary for a Nottingham taught masters student is £23,082 with the highest salary being £48,000.* 

* Known destinations of the 2013/14 leaving cohort of Nottingham home/EU postgraduates who studied full-time.

Career prospects and employability

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service will help you to plan your career throughout your time at the University and beyond.

Services available include:

  • Presentations and drop-in sessions with employers
  • One-to-one careers guidance and CV sessions with our advisers
  • Over 250 careers events
  • A specialist careers adviser for research postgraduates

All postgraduate students also become members of the Graduate School, which provides dedicated facilities and resources to enhance your postgraduate experience.



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