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Should those who are relatively poor regard international economic law as a means, end, obstacle or irrelevance to improving their lives?
From Shock Therapy (1992) to Seattle 1999, to Shock and Awe (2003), to Live8 (2005), to the 2007 Financial Crisis, to G20 2009, to Haiti 2010, the impact of international economic law and institutions upon justice and development justifiably commands increasing attention from all quarters: local politicians and international celebrities, savvy pharmaceutical companies and bewildered farmers, moral philosophers and foreign investors.
Our LLM International Economic Law, Justice and Development is one of the few postgraduate programmes in the UK to address the law, institutions and practice which constitute global and local economies from an avowedly
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A second-class honours degree or above in law or a related discipline. We welcome other relevant qualifications and appropriate professional training and experience.
If you have a degree in a subject other than law, or wish to refresh pre-existing legal knowledge and skills, SOAS offers an intensive two-week course in September.
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this course is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each sub-test.
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‘The course had a lot in it that was connected to what I was working on as a lawyer in Uganda. A lot connected to “alleviation from poverty”,’ Esther said.
‘During my time working back home, I came to realise that most people were committing crimes because they were poor, and here was a course that was not only connected to what I was experiencing, but one that was offering solutions. I realised it would give me the skills I needed to help these people back home.’
Finding out that she had been selected as the first recipient of the scholarship is a happy memory that the 27-year-old can still remember very well.
‘I was so excited and happy, especially due to the fact it had been so competitive. I just thought “Oh My God, this is an opportunity that can’t be found anywhere else”,’ she said.
The scholarship was set up in 2014 to commemorate the late Prof Patrick McAuslan, a founding member of the School who had worked for a time in Africa. Offering free entry to the LLM programme – plus offering a subsistence of £5,000 on top – the scholarship opportunity is tailored for candidates who will flourish within an intensive academic environment.
‘The speed of the intensive course, being done in six months, is a real motivator,’ Esther explained.
‘Sometimes, when you are getting weary, you think “it’s only six months, don’t give up”. It’s something that helps keep you on track, as does the fact you’re not doing this alone. Your fellow students are going through it too, and I found that we kept in regular touch via email, phone calls and things like LinkedIn.’
‘When I first received information about the modules, one particularly stood out - the one on “Risks, Rights and Responsibilities”,’ she said.
‘When I came to study this module in the last two weeks of the course, it was everything I imagined. It met all my expectations and even more. They were very interactive classes, with great presentations and external speakers. It was a very interesting module.
‘From the beginning, I had an idea that my dissertation would be something to do with this module, and I ended up finding my topic - human rights and the HIV African epidemic. I’m really interested in studying how human rights laws can support people in an epidemic, and to look at the international and national responses.
Candice decided to enrol on the intensive LLM in International Economic Law, Justice and Development for many reasons, including Birkbeck’s reputation, its prestigious and internationally-recognised qualifications, and the two concentrated blocks of teaching.
She said: 'The intensive course is a really good idea as otherwise I would not have been able to study at this level. I have been able to see my seven-month-old daughter and four-year-old son and still complete my university work. The intensive course has suited my plans perfectly.”
Candice has gained much from studying the new intensive programme, which was offered for the first time this year. She said: 'The course 'as very informative and I learned a lot. I now have a greater understanding of institutions and knowledge of international economic law. Birkbeck is very welcoming as an institution. You can approach the lecturers and they give you solid direction. The quality of the teaching has just amazed me.' Candice’s dissertation is an analysis of the impact of aid upon developing countries, including the legal implications of pledges made by developed countries.
Such positive experiences at Birkbeck have convinced Candice that she should apply to study a PhD in Law at the College. She added: 'As a result of the intensive LLM, I definitely now want to pursue a career in academia.' As well as learning from the lecturers, Candice, who is British, gained many insights from her fellow students, many of whom came from overseas to study at Birkbeck. She said: 'It was brilliant to hear all the views and experiences that other students shared from their home countries. There was a real international mix with students from an array of backgrounds, including the US and Jamaica. I would definitely recommend the course. I think it is such a brilliant idea.'
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