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International Economic Law (Intensive) (LLM)

Course Description

This innovative LLM enables you to tailor your studies to your professional and research interests. You choose 1 out of 2 critical pathways, electing to combine the study of international economic law with either finance and global markets or with justice and development. Both pathways draw on cutting-edge critical research to examine contemporary issues and problems.

If you are interested in finance, global markets and international economic institutions, you may select the LLM International Finance and Economic Law (Intensive).

If you wish to study global development issues and economic institutions you should consider the LLM International Economic Law, Justice and Development (Intensive).

LLM International Finance and Economic Law (Intensive)

What is it about finance that makes it appear powerful? How does finance relate to different senses of law, norms and regulation?

The first time the concept of 'freedom' was written down, in Mesopotamia c.2400 BC as ama-gi, its use did not relate to liberty from tyrannical rule, but to freedom from debt-slavery. Why is it that from the first civilisations to the present, debt-finance has exercised such power over peoples that it has led thinkers as diverse as Hindu theologians and classical economists to link finance to power?

Adopting an avowedly critical perspective, this programme refuses simply to accept current financial law and economics as given. The programme develops an understanding of the conditions in which financial crises develop. It is designed to examine the nature of finance and the power it exercises within society. Focusing on the law, economics and practice of international finance leading up to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, you will be presented with critical theoretical tools with which to interrogate the role of finance in society, and in particular its effects on value systems. This programme’s critical depth and breadth affords you a unique opportunity to concretise and engage with the questions you have asked about the failures of finance.

To achieve this, you will be given a solid grounding in the legal and economic principles of finance. We examine the practice of finance in today’s financial capitals with their money markets and complicated corporate structures. You will develop practical knowledge and the theoretical tools necessary to critique finance as such: from questioning the concepts of money and value, to the power of finance with respect to time and space, the nexus of finance and consciousness, to the deep relations between finance, consumption, desire and life itself.

The study of finance will be combined with that of international economic institutions, and a range of specialised modules that you can choose based on your individual interests.

LLM International Economic Law, Justice and Development (Intensive)

Should those who are relatively poor regard international economic law as a means, end, obstacle or irrelevance to improving their lives? What role do international economic institutions play in shaping and responding to global events and crises?

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.

This is the only postgraduate programme in the UK to address the law, institutions and practices that constitute global and local economies from an avowedly critical perspective. It is particularly well suited to (current and aspiring) lawyers and non-lawyers within non-governmental organisations, government departments and in-house corporate social responsibility departments who wish to critically reflect on their role as practitioners. It also offers an opportunity for research and study for those considering a career change in the direction of working in, and with, international economic institutions or international development.

Preliminary reading is sent to new students in January, with the first block of intensive, face-to-face teaching in March/April.

Visit the International Economic Law (Intensive) (LLM) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Esther Joyce Ariokot

4053.jpg ‘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.

(Student Profile)

Candice Mtwazi

4086.jpg 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.'


School of Law Postgraduate Fee Awards - 2 Awards

Law Postgraduate Fee Awards may be awarded by the College on the recommendation of the School’s Research Committee to candidates with an outstanding academic record who shows high potential for strong performance on one of the School’s Master's programmes.
The awards will cover the cost of fees only at the home/EU rate. Where an award is made to an international student, the student will be liable for the balance of their fees for the duration of their programme of study.
There is no maintenance award.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Cost of fees at the home/EU rate only


Awards may be made for full-time or part-time study and to Home, EU students or International students. Where an award is made to an international student the student will be liable for the balance of their fees for the duration of their programme of study.
Candidates will be expected to fulfil similar academic criteria to those demanded by external funding bodies. They will normally possess at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent and not normally have previously completed a Postgraduate Taught Programme.
The competition is open to new students only.

Application Procedure

Before you can apply for this funding, you must submit an application to the College for one of our eligible master's programmes. Candidates will be considered for admission first, and for the award only after they have been offered a place (at least conditionally) onto the programme.
Once you have been offered a place, you can apply using the relevant application form

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Good second-class honours degree in law or a related discipline. We welcome other relevant qualifications and appropriate professional training and experience. If you have a first degree in a subject other than law, or if you want to refresh pre-existing legal knowledge and skills, you might consider completing a Pre-Sessional Course in Law and Legal Method , such as the one offered by SOAS. This intensive 2-week course runs during the daytime in September. It is designed primarily for those who don't already possess a law degree and provides an introduction to law, legal method and associated skills and techniques.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

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