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International Commercial Law (LLM)

Course Description

This course balances the best of a rigorous, traditional legal education with a contemporary perspective. Our areas of specialisation address today's most important business and legal challenges, including the study of the evolving commercial relationships in the international arena, the role and impact of electronic commerce, the resolution of commercial disputes, and the gradual harmonisation of international commercial law.

This Masters is not merely about what you learn in the classroom, it is also about actual practice in today's world of globalisation and international commerce. That is why the LLM provides, in addition to a strong academic dimension, a concentrated, real-world-oriented legal education.

The course offers you the opportunity to develop strong academic and practical skills in a highly competitive and intellectually satisfying area of law. It is ideally suited to those who come from a commercial law, international business, management, or economics background. You will have the opportunity to explore your own ideas, gain knowledge and enhance transferable skills in a supportive environment. You will benefit from a strong programme of visiting speakers, excellent online materials and learning resources, top quality instruction and a professional and practical focus in a department with a strong research profile.

Core modules

- Dissertation
The Dissertation module allows you to extend your research into a topic of your choice within the broad field of international commercial law. You will need to agree the topic with the module leader, and it must not replicate materials covered in other areas of your coursework, other than any Dissertation Proposal written as part of the Research Methods and Theory module.

- Foundations of International Commercial Law
This module enables you to analyse the key principles for the application of international commercial law, and the context within which it operates. You will develop your understanding of the legal rules affecting the international sale of goods contract, and high-level research skills in this subject and its related fields.

Option modules

- Carriage of Goods
You will explore the contractual and legal relationships of persons involved in a carriage of goods arrangement. This module covers the international carriage of goods by sea, air, road and rail, with sea carriage as the main focus. The module deals with the two principal forms of contracts used for the carriage of goods by sea, the charter party, and the contract of affreightment. The emphasis of the module is to examine legal principles against the backdrop of current shipping practice and documentation.

- Corporate Social Responsibility Issues in Business and Law
This module looks at the tension for corporate entities between their business gaols and their social responsibilities. It draws a distinction between the legal and ethical demands on business in relation to corporate social responsibility and studies the ways in which the two intersect. It analyses the domestic and international frameworks, together with key industry initiatives, in the field. You will be exposed to a range of methods and best practice followed in the business environment to meet CSR needs.

- International Tax Law
You will analyse the nature of tax, taxation and tax bases in the law, giving you the opportunity to survey the legal and non-legal implications of cross-border taxation. You will also study the interaction between states and taxpayers, treaty law and tax conventions, and the role of international bodies such as the OECD.

- Law of the Internal Market of The European Union
This module explores the key elements of the EU's internal market. You will start with the evolution of economic integration between the member states, and follow this with an in-depth analysis of the main elements of the internal market. This includes free movement of goods, free movement of persons, right of establishment and free movement of services. In order to present the internal market from a broader perspective two lectures are devoted to recognition of diplomas and public procurement. There will also be an emphasis on free movement of capital and payments.

- Law of International Sales
This module will give you the opportunity to evaluate and critically examine the law governing the international sale contract. You will be introduced to the intricacies of international sale transactions, especially the content of the contract of international sale, the use of standard trade terms (such as the INCOTERMS 2010), and the rights and remedies available to sellers and buyers. You will also examine the role of documentation in international sales, and will have the chance to discuss the role of Vienna Convention on the international sale of goods.

- Law Relating to Payment and Trade Finance
This module introduces you to how the international sale of goods is paid and financed. We examine the law which applies to the payment and finance of international sales, and the practical commercial issues this specialised field entails. Areas covered include the fundamental principles relating to documentary credits, the operation and legal effect of the different types of documentary credit, their relationship with the sale contract, and the use of performance guarantees.

- Legal Aspects of Electronic Commerce
You will examine the legal and commercial framework for electronic commerce, and the key aspects of the law of contract in that context. You will also study relevant English and EU legal provisions on aspects of electronic commerce, including online data transmission, online marketing, electronic payments, copyright and domain name disputes. The module also looks at how current law could be applied to resolve difficulties thrown up by electronic commerce and IT.

- Multinational Corporate Entities
This module will introduce you to the study of several facets of multinational corporate entities. These include the role and effect of multinational corporate entities in cross-border trade and investment, the power balance between multinationals and sovereign states, and international and national approaches to control of multinationals. You will also consider the international and national consequences of incorporation of businesses, and the accountability of the multinational personnel.

- Research Theory and Practice
This module is designed to prepare students for LLM Dissertation work. It introduces you to the general concepts of legal and social scientific (empirical) methods of research, and develops your understanding of the principles of advanced research. You will consider the relevance of these methods for the study of law, as well as giving you an understanding of the legal, social scientific and philosophical debates on methodology. It will also enable you to evaluate your own work and that of other researchers. Finally you will work on your Dissertation Proposal.

International Commercial Law students may also take up three of the following taught modules from other LLM courses:
• Foreign Direct Investment Arbitration
• International Banking Law & Regulation
• International Commercial Arbitration
• International Commercial Litigation
• International Energy & Climate Change Law
• International Law of the Sea
• Private International Law: Substantive Commercial
• One free choice LLM module from any other course.

Please note that option modules are subject to student demand and staffing availability, therefore not all modules may be offered in any one academic year.

Associated careers

Former students have found employment in accountancy, banking and finance, commodities, corporate and commercial law, export-import, insurance, international and national trade and marketing bodies, international organisations, IT, shipping and freight, tax, and the public sector.


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the International Commercial Law (LLM) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You will typically be expected to have a good Second Class Honours (or equivalent) degree in law or an equivalent non-law degree and significant legal experience. You will also be considered without standard qualifications provided you are sufficiently motivated to study effectively on a Masters programme and/or have had a significant amount of relevant experience.

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