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Course overview

Our International Commercial Law LLM reflects international business in its diversity, innovation, and contemporary relevance. It explores transactional, regulatory and dispute resolution issues, as well as shipping, finance and access to markets. We examine how an increasingly globalised economy requires commercial law to meet a variety of challenges.

We offer a variety of modules in the areas of competition law, public procurement law, intellectual property law, international trade, and commercial law, so you can tailor your LLM to your interests and career goals. You are taught by specialists in these areas from our Commercial Law Centre, so our teaching is informed by the latest research.

We encourage a culture of collaboration in the school and you can enrich your learning experience through the Commercial Law Centre seminar series. Seminars are given by distinguished visitors from across the world, giving you the opportunity to network with legal professionals.

With an advanced law degree from the University of Nottingham, you will graduate with all the knowledge, practical skills and confidence to pursue your career goals.

Why choose this course?

Flexible course

with a broad range of modules informed by our world-leading law research

Taught in small groups

where possible, allowing for an open, interactive learning experience

Dedicated resources

including legal skills advice through workshops and one-to-one sessions

Gain real experience

by applying for internships and placements through our faculty placements scheme

Close links

to leading firms, private industry, governmental institutions and NGOs

Top 100

in the world for law

Course content

You will complete a minimum of 90 credits of specialist optional modules. The remaining 30 credits can be chosen from the full selection of optional modules available on the LLM programme. You will also undertake a 60-credit dissertation.

Guidance and support on choosing an international commercial law dissertation topic and designing your project will be provided through bespoke workshops and one-to-one support.

Modules

Core modules

Dissertation

Written work on a legal topic of the your choice resulting from individual research and normally based upon material falling within the area covered by the degree for which you are registered.

Qualifying module options

Advanced Copyright and Design Law

The module will deal with special issues in copyright and designs and their international exploitation at an advanced level. The British, European and international law relating to these rights will be studied in detail. Comparison will also be made with national Member States laws.

Special topical issues in copyright and designs law will be studied including the protection of computer programs, databases and technological protection measures. National and Community unregistered and registered design rights. Finally you will be given an insight as to the future of copyright and designs at EU and international level.

Business and Human Rights

This module considers how business increasingly conducts its operations with responsibility to its stakeholders and to society at large. It examines the emergence of the business and human rights regime, which forms the basis for addressing both legal developments and voluntary initiatives across a spectrum of business and industry sectors and different types of business operating both globally and locally.

The module content is diverse and wide-ranging, and draws on case studies in order to foster knowledge about the impacts of business on human rights protection. It considers key issues in the current business and human rights regime, including states' obligation to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, human rights due diligence and access to remedy for human rights violations by business.

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.

EU Single Market Law

This module is concerned with the substantive area of European Union single market law - the four economic freedoms of goods, persons, services and capital. It includes an introduction to the EU institutions and the powers of the EU to construct the single market as a core element of Europe's "economic constitution". It assesses the effectiveness of regulation and harmonisation as the main tools of market construction.

Each of the four economic freedoms is analysed in depth using case studies to focus on issues such as the tension between economic freedoms, or "market rights" and other rights and values concerning the public interest, such as economic and social rights and environmental protection. The methods adopted by the Court of Justice to strike a balance between these interests is evaluated. Cross-cutting issues across the four freedoms are explored.

EU Trade Law, Brexit and International Relations

This module is concerned with the European Union's (EU) status as a global trade power. Subjects examined include:

  • the EU's competence to conduct trade policy and its effectiveness to achieve objectives beyond trade
  • the scope of Common Commercial Policy, EU/WTO relationship
  • trade and human rights
  • trade and development cooperation
  • EU-UK trade relations in the wake of Brexit
Global Competition Law and International Business

The module examines the global competition law development from the perspective of international business. In summary it uses the US, EU and Chinese competition regimes and high profile international business cases as targets for analysis.

It first critically examines the origins of global competition rules against international business, by focusing on EU, US and Chinese competition regimes on the one hand and international organizations on the other hand. It then examines in-depth the challenges faced by international business in the areas of international price cartel regulation, multiple regulations on abuse of market dominance and cross-border mergers. It further critically examine the public and private enforcements of competition rules against international business in the global context.

By critically examining the challenges faced by international business in both the substance and enforcement of global competition regulation, the module aims to engage and motivate you to undertake original thinking and explore innovative solutions to tackle the challenges.

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.

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.

International Aspects of Corporate Law and Insolvency

The module covers the following:

  • Introduction to company law, insolvency and global business operations
  • Effective business forms for global operations: group structures and organisational patterns
  • Companies crossing borders: doing business abroad
  • Harmonisation of company laws and supranational business forms
  • Regulating enterprise groups - a comparative and international perspective
  • The quest for harmonisation and uniformity in insolvency
  • The European Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings
  • The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency: a global solution for international insolvencies
  • Insolvency of multinational enterprise groups
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 module 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.

International Investment Law

This module deals with key aspects of the international system for the regulation of foreign investment. The module focuses mainly on issues arising from investor-host state relations under Bilateral Investment Treaties or BITs but also touches upon international investment contracts. Special attention will be given to the means of regulating investment using BITs, including standards of treatment, such as fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, national treatment and MFN, and breaches thereof, the taking of foreign property and the settlement of investment disputes by means of third party dispute settlement.

Attention will focus on the substantial and procedural aspects of international investment arbitration with specific reference to ICSID, as well as ad hoc arbitration, using UNCITRAL arbitration rules or the rules of other relevant arbitral fora.

International Law of the Sea

The course will cover five main areas:

  • The history and evolution of law of the sea
  • Maritime spaces under national jurisdiction
  • Maritime spaces beyond national jurisdiction
  • Boundary-making
  • Humans and the ocean
International Sale of Goods

This module examines the body of rules and principles governing international sales transactions under two prominent legal regimes of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (Vienna, 1980), and English Sales Law.

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.

The Private International Law of Intellectual Property

This module will offer an in-depth analysis of the relationship between intellectual property and private international law. It will cover all aspects of jurisdiction and choice of law.

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. The module focuses on:

  • the institutional and organisational structure of the WTO and its dispute settlement system
  • GATT 1994 (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 paid to the relationship between multilateral and regional and preferential trade and the relationship of trade to sustainable development, as well as consumer health and safety.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars
  • Workshops

We teach in small group seminars where possible, allowing for an open, interactive learning experience. You are required to prepare for, and participate in seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from them.

How you will be assessed

  • Dissertation
  • Examinations
  • Essay

You will be assessed by exam or essay, or a combination of both. Assessments take place at the end of each term.

Practice assignments, guidance on exam techniques, time management workshops, and one-to-one legal skills advice sessions are offered throughout the year to prepare you for these assessments.

Contact time and study hours

The main teaching method is small-group seminars, which provide an open and interactive learning experience.

Teaching takes place throughout the week during term-time - exact days and times of teaching is subject to timetabling and will depend on which modules you choose.

Each module involves one two-hour seminar a week, supplemented by private preparation and study.

In addition to seminars for each module, you will have the opportunity to meet and discuss with your personal tutor and other members of staff, as well as attend optional seminars and workshops to support your learning and network with other students and legal scholars and professionals.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in law

Applying

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

Qualification LLM
Home / UK £10,500
International £20,000

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles. Our libraries also have an excellent range of free electronic books and journals that you can download.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers. Many go into the legal profession or return to their previous legal careers with specialist knowledge and enhanced prospects. Others work in international organisations and NGOs. Some graduates further their academic career by progressing onto our PhD programme.

Recent graduate destinations include BAE Systems, Clifford Chance, London Stock Exchange and Simmons & Simmons.

Career progression

90.5% of postgraduates from the School of Law secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,658.*

The University of Nottingham’s law graduates are the 6th most highly paid in the UK above King’s College London and University College London.**

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.
** Chambers Student law firms preferred universities study 2019.

Our faculty work placements and internship programme provides valuable work experience, self-confidence and a practical application of your studies.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
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LLM International Commercial Law course overview

Introduced by Estelle Derclaye, Professor of Intellectual Property Law

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.