Developments over the last two decades have made public procurement law one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving areas of law. Given the extent to which legal rules now govern the day to-day conduct of most procurement activity, knowledge of procurement law has become vital for anyone working in public sector procurement.
To meet the need for in-depth training in this area, we have created a unique part-time programme, available by distance learning, that provides a ‘gold standard’ for education in this field.
The programme is open both to those with a legal background and those without, and does not require a law degree. It is designed in particular for:
- procurement officers whose role demands an understanding of the legal rules
- policy makers responsible for designing and implementing legal rules on procurement
- lawyers advising on public procurement
- those seeking to undertake research or teaching in public procurement
It provides a thorough understanding of:
- the nature of law and legal process
- the principles and rules of public procurement law
- the application of these rules in key national and international systems/models (including UNCITRAL, the WTO, the EU and the UK)
- how to implement best practice in the context of a legal framework
Visit the School of Law website for further information.
- The School of Law was ranked 35th best law school in the world by the QS World Rankings 2015.
- This innovative programme is taught by leading academics from the school’s world-renowned Public Procurement Research Group (PPRG).
- Students receive an extensive range of course materials, comprising bespoke mini-textbooks supplemented with additional readings and self-test questions and answers.
- Each module* is supported by around 14 hours of intensive teaching, held over two days in the middle of each module study period.
*For ‘Legal Research Methods’ the approach differs in that there is an introductory session and a session on how to conduct legal research (held alongside teaching for other modules), followed by completion of the module assignment.
The LLM programme is offered on a part-time basis, to be completed over 24 months. This requires the completion of eight modules plus a dissertation.
The course is predominantly delivered by distance learning and designed to be studied part-time to fit around students’ commitments. For each module, students are provided with extensive materials including basic text, case studies, further reading and self-test questions.
Students also receive a reading pack of core academic articles and legislation for each module. Material is provided both online and in hard copy or disk form, and there is online academic support as well as an online discussion forum for each module.
Intensive residential sessions
Each module includes an intensive residential weekend held at The University of Nottingham. This provides the opportunity to develop understanding through traditional face-to-face teaching (lectures, seminars and workshops). These will be delivered mainly by academic staff from The University of Nottingham, with a few sessions also presented by guest lecturers from professional practice and international institutions.
The intensive teaching sessions constitute an important element of the programme, helping to ensure it is of the same high quality as the school’s full-time programmes. All participants are encouraged to attend, although this is not mandatory for obtaining a qualification.
A full list of available modules can be found in the Law postgraduate module guide .
Introduction to Public Procurement Regulation: Basic Principles and Concepts (M34140)
This module examines basic concepts in procurement regulation. It considers first the objectives of regulatory provisions, notably value for money, integrity (including addressing corruption), accountability, environmental/social development and procedural efficiency. It also examines their relationship with each other: to what extent are they complementary and to what extent can they conflict? It also examines the nature and purpose of the principles of transparency and competition, through which the objectives above are often implemented.
The module then considers how these objectives and principles are implemented and balanced in regulatory rules. This is done primarily through a study of the rules of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement 2011, which provides a "model" template of a public procurement law.
This module aims to:
- provide an understanding of the objectives and principles of public procurement regulation and their concrete implementation in core regulatory provisions on the award of public procurement contracts
EU Procurement Law 1 (M34143)
This module examines the basic rules and policies of the EU regime on public procurement and their implications for procurement strategy, and also provides a critical assessment of those rules against the background of sound procurement practice.
It covers the purpose of the EU rules; the application of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to public procurement; the core rules contained in Directive 2014/24 and associated instruments - in particular the coverage of the directive, the detail of the main award procedures (open, restricted, competitive procedure with negotiation, and negotiated procedure without prior publication) and the rules on drafting specifications; changes to concluded contracts; and the remedies regime and the risks of legal challenge.
The module also examines the way in which the procedural rules have been implemented and operated in UK legislation and case law.
This module aims to:
- provide an understanding of the purpose, content and impact of the EU’s basic rules on public procurement
EU Procurement Law 2 (M34144)
This module examines various specific topics in EU public procurement, building on the foundations provided by the module EU Procurement Law 1, and provides a critical assessment of the relevant EU rules against the background of sound procurement practice.
- framework agreements
- electronic procurement
- regulation of the utilities sector
- social and environmental policies in public procurement
- innovation (including the innovation partnership procedure)
- in-house and public-public arrangements
Where applicable, the module also examines the way in which these rules have been implemented and operated in UK legislation and case law.
This module aims to:
- provide a detailed study of the purpose, content and impact of the EU’s rules on public procurement in various specialist areas of practical importance
Corruption and Collusion in Public Procurement (M34145)
This module examines the phenomena of corruption and collusion in public procurement and explores methods used in national and international systems to identify, prevent and sanction occurrences of these phenomena.
It covers, inter alia: the role and limits of transparency rules in addressing corruption; the revelation of corruption through investigations and audits; practical mechanisms to deter and redress corruption including criminal and administrative sanctions (such as debarment), codes of ethics and anti-corruption commissions; the role of rules against foreign bribery; and the role of competition law in dealing with supplier collusion.
This module aims to:
- provide detailed study of the concepts of corruption and collusion and the measures used to address these
Government Procurement in the WTO (M34146)
This module examines the current rules regulating government procurement under the Agreements of the World Trade Organization, covering both the multilateral agreements (in particular GATT and GATS) and the plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement. This includes the current coverage of the GPA rules; the approach to GPA negotiations; the obligations for covered procurement under the GPA in relation to tendering; the system of enforcement (intergovernmental enforcement and supplier challenge systems); and the impact of the GPA on use of procurement promote social objectives and sustainable development.
The module also explores the current initiatives for expanding the multilateral rules on procurement, notably the discussions relating to a new Transparency Agreement. The module will explore the relevant issues from the perspective of all types of countries, including developing countries and transition economies/countries with a large state sector.
This module aims to:
- study of the purpose, content and impact of the WTO’s current rules and ongoing initiatives in the area of government procurement
Legal Research Methods in Public Procurement (M34147)
This module examines the different methods relevant for research in public procurement regulation, including the objectives, benefits and limitations of each, and their inter-relationship. It provides an in-depth examination of doctrinal legal method and an introduction to other key research methods, including theoretical, comparative law, qualitative and quantitative.
These various methods will be examined through studying general literature on research methods and through specific case studies of the use of the different methods in the context of research on public procurement regulation.
This module aims to:
- provide a study of the key methods used in research relating to public procurement regulation
Organisation and Management of Procurement Systems (M34141)
This module examines the key issues relating to the setting up and management of public procurement systems, including in the specific context of developing countries.
It covers basic institutional structures (such as whether to use centralised and decentralised approaches to tasks and institutions, and the nature of policy authorities); the development of systems, including preparation of laws, recording/reporting requirements, and management of information systems; implementation issues, such as bid documentation and use of benchmarking and performance; and development of human resource capacity.
This module aims to:
- study the key considerations involved in setting up a public procurement system and managing it on an ongoing basis
Procurement and Development (M34142)
This module examines issues relating to the role of procurement as an engine for development, explaining why procurement is so important for development, for developing countries and for the work of bilateral and multilateral aid donors (such as the World Bank, the UK, the EU, the ADB etc).
The first part of the module examines issues relating to the role of procurement in the delivery of aid money to developing countries and explores how procurement can enhance aid effectiveness and improve aid coordination. The module also examines the practice of tying aid, ie. where aid is donated to recipient countries on condition that goods and services for the aid financed projects will be purchased in the donor country only.
Students will look at the economic and development problems caused by tied aid, the rationale for tying aid and data on its implementation. Considerable attention will be paid to the international initiatives to untie aid and the role played by the international community. Students will also focus on the legal implications of tied aid and its compatibility with regional and international procurement agreements.
The module then explores why procurement is so important to the mission of international financial institutions and examines the procurement procedures and policies of major multilateral, regional and national institutions, focusing in particular on the World Bank and the regional development banks. The module also looks at the characteristics of procurement systems in developing countries, exploring the move towards reform of procurement systems, the role of the UNCITRAL Model Law, and problems associated with capacity building in developing countries. Other selected topical issues will also be considered including sustainability and preferential purchasing.
This module aims to:
- convey to the students the critical role of procurement in developing countries and its role in aid delivery to developing countries
UK Public Procurement Law (M34148)
This module examines the rules of UK public procurement law, other than those already studied in the modules on EU procurement law.
The subjects covered as are follows:
- Enforcement of procurement law in the UK, including the remedies system for enforcing EU procurement law (suspension, damages, ineffectiveness etc)
- Disclosure of information in public procurement, including under the Freedom of Information Act
- Domestic procurement rules on transparency and qualification - the "Lord Young reforms"
- Regulation of public procurement in the health sector
- The application and consequences in procurement of the ultra vires rule - what are the limits on the power of public bodies to make procurement contracts (including the impact of the Localism Act 2011) and what are the contractual and other consequences of unlawful procurement contracts?
- Local government powers relating to shared service and joint procurement
- Legal rules governing social and environmental policies etc in procurement, including under the Local Government Act 1988, the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012
- Judicial control of public procurement awards through common law principles of judicial review, such as natural justice and fairness
- The "Blackpool" implied contract governing tendering procedures.
The module aims to:
- provide knowledge and understanding of the legal rules relevant for public procurement in the UK not covered in other modules
EU Procurement Law 3 (M34176)
This module examines the various specialist topics of the EU regime on public procurement and their implications for procurement strategy, and provides a critical assessment of those rules against the background of sound procurement practice.
- the Defence and Secutiry Directive 2009/81/EC
- the Concessions Directive 2014/23
- public-private partnerships in EU procurement Law (including institutional public-private partnerships (IPPs))
- centralised procurement (including Central Purchasing Bodies)
- collaborative procurement between EU Member States
- competition law (including state aid) and procurement
- the EU's Acquired Rights Directive
- the EU's relations with third countries in public procurement
Where applicable, the module also examines the way in which these rules have been implemented in UK legislation and case law.
This module aims to:
- provide a detailed study of the purpose, content and impact of EU procurement law in various specialist areas of practical importance
Please note that all module details are subject to change.
Please see the University's online funding information for sources of postgraduate funding.
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.
With over 39,000 students from over 150 countries and two overseas campuses, Nottingham is a truly global university. We are one of the top institutions targeted by graduate employers, outperforming Oxford, Cambridge and other leading universities.* Added to this, the school was ranked 4th in the UK by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015.
Gaining a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research, or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.
*High Fliers Research 2015
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.