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.
We teach in small-group seminars where possible, allowing for an integrated, interactive learning experience. You are required to prepare for, and participate in, seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from them.
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.
Commercial Conflict of Laws
This module will involve a critical analysis of the conflict of laws rules dealing with issues arising in a commercial context. The module begins with jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. The module then deals with choice of law issues in contract and tort.
Because of the growing role of the European Union in this area, the interaction between European and traditional English approaches to commercial conflict of laws issues will be a pervasive theme of the module.
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 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.
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 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.
Next, the module looks at the protection of consumers' economic interests (in particular through unfair commercial practices law) and consumers' physical integrity (in particular through product safety law). The module ends by examining the theory and practice of enforcement.
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
- 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 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. It provides a detailed examination of the system under EU Law, which has provided a model for other international systems, and 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
- 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 that 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. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
You will be assessed by examination 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 academic year to prepare you for these assessments.