Triangle

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 programme

Close links

to leading firms, private industry, governmental institutions and NGOs

Course content

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 60 credits

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

Optional modules

Students must take a minimum of six and a maximum of eight from: 

Advanced Copyright and Design Law

Module credits: 15

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 20 credits

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.  

EU Trade Law, Brexit and International Relations

Module credits: 15

This module is concerned with the European Union's (EU) status as a global trade power and explores its relations with other countries, including the United Kingdom Post-Brexit, the EU, the United States and China. It also includes the role that the European Union plays within the World Trade Organisation.

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

Module credits: 15

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

Module credits: 15

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

Module credits: 15

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 Investment Law

Module credits: 15

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 Sale of Goods

Module credits: 15

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.

Introduction to Energy Law

Module credits: 15

This module provides an introduction to energy law. Through scholarly works and practical case studies, it will address some of the most important legal issues which relate to energy such as: the exploration of natural resources in disputed areas; transparency and control of oil revenues; environmental law issues; and justice and gender in energy transitions. Although both fossils and low carbon/renewable resources will be examined, considerable attention will be paid to hydrocarbons, as they still dominate the energy sector. 

The module will be taught through the following seminars:

  1. Energy law: what, why, how?
  2. Regulation of hydrocarbons: legal regime and exploratory permits
  3. The ‘‘resource curse’’
  4. Exploration of hydrocarbons in contested and transboundary waters
  5. Human rights in extractive industries
  6. Energy dispute resolution: Lex Mercatoria, Lex Petrolea and the way forward
  7. Low carbon and renewable resources: contribution to energy transition and associated challenges
  8. Environmental issues and legal regulation
  9. Energy transition aspects
Law of International Trade Finance 20 credits

This 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 module also explores important international trade finance mechanisms such as documentary credits and demand guarantees. These include Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP 600) and Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees.

The Private International Law of Intellectual Property

Module credits: 15

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

Module credits: 15

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

Module credits: 15

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.

Regulation of the Digital Economy and the Information Society

Module credits: 15

This module offers an in depth examination of the laws and regulatory perspectives relating to the digital economy. It explores the implications of UK, European and international rules that apply to digital platforms and Big Tech, and their impacts on end-users and digital consumers. The module engages with a series of themes and topics like privacy and commercial surveillance in data-driven economies, cybersecurity, social media and online harms, algorithmic governance and automation. participation for digital citizens. 

Law, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Module credits: 15

This module aims to develop an understanding of the legal and ethical challenges posed by AI and robotics technologies, along with consideration of appropriate legal and regulatory responses. It provides a philosophical and legal framework for considering concepts and principles that relate to the development and use of such technologies. It also considers legal and regulatory governance at the international, regional, and national levels.  

Students can also choose up to 30 credits from: 

Principles of Public International Law 20 credits

The module is primarily concerned with those customary and treaty rules governing relations between States. This module aims to give candidates a thorough grounding in the principles of PIL. The basic topics include:

  • nature of international law
  • sources
  • actors in the international legal system
  • jurisdiction and state responsibility
International Law on the Use of Force

Module credits: 15

This module looks at principles and laws governing unilateral and multilateral resort to force by states under the United Nations Charter and in customary international law. Instances where force is permissible will be considered as well as the more controversial claims to use force.

Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and Criminal Justice 20 credits

This module gives a broad-based introduction to the philosophical foundations of human rights and criminal justice, emphasising the moral and political underpinnings of legal rules, doctrines and principles. It considers key issues and questions in contemporary debates surrounding human rights and criminal justice through the contrasting lenses of two rival philosophical perspectives, utilitarianism and liberal deontology. 

International Criminal Law 20 credits

An introduction to international criminal law issues, with particular emphasis on institutions (such as Nuremberg and Tokyo IMTs, the ad hoc Tribunals and the International Criminal Court) as well as substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law.

The module focuses on the institutional developments in international criminal law as well as the definition and application of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Principles of liability and defences will also be covered.

Economic and Social Rights 20 credits

This module begins with a consideration of the historical origins and philosophical underpinnings of economic and social rights (ESR). Key themes that will be developed throughout the course include perceptions of the nature of such rights and the related question of the extent to which such rights are, and should be, justiciable.

You will evaluate the different ways in which ESR are protected and implemented, both domestically and internationally. The module will consider litigation and judicial enforcement of ESR in various jurisdictions.

The module will equip you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to engage in, and critically analyse, the debates surrounding ESR that exist both amongst legal commentators and at a broader societal level.

Equality, Discrimination and Criminal Justice

Module credits: 15

This module will examine theories of equality to understand how equality is conceptualised, protected and promoted in law. It will also examine the interaction of individuals with protected characteristics including gender, race, disability and sexuality as both victims and defendants with the criminal justice system. It will critically evaluate the discrimination and barriers to justice they experience and the extent to which law and policy effectively prevents discrimination and promotes justice for these groups. 

International Humanitarian Law

Module credits: 30

This module examines the legal constraints of international and national warfare. It traces the historical and contextual development of the law and focuses upon the principles which govern warfare. During the module, you will also study the mechanisms for the enforcement and the implementation of international humanitarian law.

The Rights of the Child

Module credits: 15

The module will explore the rights of the child in international human rights law, focusing on topics such as the concepts of childhood and the best interests of the child, family rights and the right to family life, education, child soldiers, child labour, gender and the rights of the girl child.

Law, Development and the International Community 20 credits

This module examines some of the relationships between law and development. After examining both the notion of development per se and the right to development as a human right, the module moves on to cover a number of individual issues where the relationship between law, development and human rights can be explored.

Subjects covered include:

  • the concept of development and the role of international law in promoting "development"
  • the regulation of aid
  • the WTO and developing countries
  • intellectual property and access to medication
  • the protection of traditional knowledge
  • agriculture
  • food aid and food security
  • sustainable development
  • gender and development
Fair Trials, Human Rights and Criminal Justice

Module credits: 15

This module critically considers the concept of ‘fair (criminal) trial’ in theory and practice. International human rights law, particularly as it derives from Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, will naturally be central to this inquiry. But the law of human rights is neither our starting point nor our final destination. More ambitiously, this module draws on criminal justice, socio-legal, and comparative approaches and perspectives in order to place the law and practice of English and Welsh criminal trials in their broader legal, political, social, and moral contexts.

Although some points of law and practice will be treated in detail, developing an exhaustive account of English criminal trials is not the principal objective. Rather, we will use these details as examples and case-studies to illustrate methodological issues, broader themes and trends in criminal policy, and international comparisons highlighting the ways in which western democracies have attempted, successfully or otherwise, to meet the challenges of integrating human rights law into their domestic criminal trial processes.

International Disaster Law

Module credits: 15

This module explores this emerging field of international law, which is seeing growing prominence within international legal research, international law and policymaking. States, international organisations, NGOs and community actors are increasingly addressing the effects of disasters in terms of human rights law, refugee law, and international humanitarian law, particularly when it comes to laws regarding humanitarian assistance.  

Principles of Criminalisation 20 credits

This module takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining philosophical, doctrinal, and socio-legal perspectives to examine the question “what conduct is a legitimate target for the criminal law?”. The first half of the course critically considers several theories of criminalisation which offer ‘in principle’ justifications for criminalising conduct. The second half examines other factors relevant to criminalisation decision-making, including: human rights, enforceability, discrimination, and politics.

Though some English and Welsh criminal offences will be examined in detail, the main objective of the module is to provide you with the critical tools with which you will be able to scrutinise the legitimacy of criminal offences in any jurisdiction.

International Environmental Law 20 credits

International Environmental Law in Practice is a foundations module on international environmental law (IEL). It will provide a broad overview of IEL and allow you to develop a number of research-related skills.

At the start of the course, you will study the basic principles of IEL. The next block of seminars cover some major multilateral environmental agreements, primarily concerned with pollution, climate change, and biodiversity. You will develop an in-depth knowledge of these instruments: their key mechanisms, institutional architecture, and related legal/policy frameworks.

In the final set of seminars, you will apply this knowledge by researching how contemporary and emerging issues of IEL are addressed through the law. The selected topics will cut across two or more environmental treaties and so you will develop a deep understanding about the connections between different areas of the law.

The Refugee in Domestic and International Law

Module credits: 15

International law recognises a human right to seek asylum. Nonetheless, states are increasingly labelling asylum seekers as “illegal” immigrants and responding to asylum seekers through the criminal law. This interdisciplinary module combines international law with theoretical insights from criminology to explore state responses to asylum seekers.

Critical Approaches to Criminal Justice

Module credits: 15

This module introduces students to broader perspectives on the history, nature, scope, meaning, function, and critique of criminal justice. It adopts a critical and interdisciplinary approach to the study of criminal justice (drawing from insights in sociology, race and gender studies, postcolonial thought and global law, psychology, and criminology). In doing so, it critiques the concept of criminal justice, its institutions, methods, aims and objectives, from a variety of social justice perspectives.    

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 31 July 2023.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars

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.

To help support you in this, you will also have access to our virtual library, which includes relevant eBooks, eJournals, official documents and supporting scanning service.

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 2024 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 £11,850
International £22,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

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.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

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

92.9% of postgraduates from the School of Law secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. 100% of graduates feel that their current activity is meaningful. The average annual salary for these graduates was £29,005.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020/2021 data published in 2023. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time, postgraduate, home graduates within the UK.

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

An example of one of these placements was in partnership with the Insolvency and Debt Resolution team of the World Bank Group and was secured by one of our LLM students, Margaux Seeuws.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" The School of Law offers a variety of modules, all taught by world-class experts. I had the opportunity to design a curriculum in accordance to my interests and career prospects from a wide range of commercial law modules. "
Simge Aslan, LLM International Commercial Law

Related courses

This content was last updated on Monday 31 July 2023. 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.