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Course overview

Our International Law LLM allows you to choose from a wide range of modules that relate to international commercial law, European law, criminal justice, human rights law and general public international law. This means you can tailor your LLM to your interests and career goals and get a broad-based qualification, exploring both public and private international law.

The course is aimed at delivering a well-rounded international lawyer who has gained a greater awareness of the possibilities for applying their knowledge in future practice areas. You will be taught by experts in their fields, many of whom contribute to policymaking and implementation of human rights norms at state and international levels.

We encourage a culture of collaboration in the school and you can enrich your learning experience through the International Law Association 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 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. It also addresses new legislation, such as the proposed EU directive on mandatory due diligence and responses from businesses and civil society.

Economic and Social Rights

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.

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 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

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.

Imprisonment and Human Rights

This module covers:

  • human rights in prison
  • place of imprisonment in the penal system
  • conditions of imprisonment
  • medical treatment of prisoners
  • the prison regime and rights
  • civil rights of prisoners
  • security, order and discipline
  • external control and supervision
  • release of prisoners
  • the future of imprisonment
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

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, corporate rescue and insolvency has been at the forefront of policy making and reform around the world. Using real-world events, this module links theory to practice and 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

The module is also run in conjunction with the University of Nottingham Commercial Law Centre who organise a range of engagement seminars which include representatives from the UK Government and the World Bank.

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 Criminal Evidence

This module explores the strengths and weaknesses of different models of proof in both domesticand international criminal justice systems and the extent to which an international consensus is emerging around the principles of evidence and proof.

International Criminal Law

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.

International Human Rights Law

This module will introduce you to the law and practice related to international human rights. You will be encouraged to explore the foundations of international human rights law. The global, regional and national mechanisms of human rights protection will be introduced and evaluated.

A selection of substantive human rights will be examined and contemporary challenges to human rights protection will be discussed.

International Humanitarian Law

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.

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

International law of the sea regulates the order of the oceans. It is one of the oldest branches of public international law and one of the most dynamic areas of law.

Topics cover: maritime boundary disputes and delimitation, exploration of hydrocarbons in contested waters, the use of marine genetic resources from maritime spaces beyond national jurisdiction, maritime terrorism, and the protection of human lives at sea.

International Law on the Use of Force

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.

Law of International Trade Finance

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.

Law, Development and the International Community

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
Minorities and International Human Rights Law

The module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the application of international law standards to minorities and indigenous peoples. There is a strong focus on the decisions of international and European courts and international human rights bodies.

Principles of Public International Law

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
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 Rights of the Child

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.

United Nations Law

This module examines the international institutional law and general international law governing the United Nations, including the central organs (for example the Security Council and General Assembly), subsidiary organs (such as the UNEP and the UNDP), and the specialised agencies (for example, the WHO, UNESCO, ICAO). 

It considers:

  • the UN's constitutional basis
  • its legal personality and powers
  • membership and budgetary matters
  • representation and decision making
  • sanctions regimes
  • the UN's military options
  • issues of responsibility, accountability and immunities
  • the UN's contribution to the development and enforcement of international law
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 Thursday 06 May 2021.

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.

To help support you in this, you will also have access to our virtual library, which include 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 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in law, humanities or social sciences

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.

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.

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.

Nearly 1,000 placements took place in the 2019/20 academic year across the faculty. One of these 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
Play video

LLM International Law course overview

Introduced by Dino Kritsiotis, Professor of Public International 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 Thursday 06 May 2021. 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.