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International and Commercial Dispute Resolution Law (LLM)

Course Description

The course is intended for anyone wishing to demonstrate a commitment to contentious law in public and private international and commercial legal contexts. The taught part of the programme includes modules which reflect the three main forms of dispute resolution process, namely adjudication (litigation and arbitration), alternative dispute resolution (ADR – principally mediation), and negotiation.

This course differs from the International Commercial Law LLM course which is primarily concerned with non-contentious aspects of commerce (modules include competition law, trade, and insurance).

Class sizes are, in general, quite small, and you will be able to mix with students on other Masters courses at Westminster Law School.

Course content

The course provides an opportunity for in-depth study of the substantive and procedural issues involved in the field, and also the acquisition of skills involved in some of the processes. It is centrally concerned with law and other rules (international and commercial) which are applicable in adjudication and also in the other dispute resolution processes.

In addition to taught modules, there is also the Dissertation module which provides an opportunity for developing a specialist knowledge of a small area of the field, which might lead to a publishable article.

Core modules:

• Perspectives on Conflicts and Disputes
This taught module introduces some of the essential elements of dispute resolution, and is designed to enable anyone to develop insights into the nature of international and commercial disputes and how they might best be resolved effectively.

• Postgraduate Dissertation
This module allows you to develop a knowledge and understanding of a specialist portion of the field of international and commercial dispute resolution. You will have the support of a supervisor for this independent research and writing process. You must agree the topic with the module leader. The topic must not replicate your own prior work or anyone else's work. Your work for this module should provide you with advanced skills in research, analysis, evaluation, and writing, all of which should stand you in good stead for any subsequent academic, professional or other career.

• Research Theory and Practice
This module introduces you to the general concepts of legal and social scientific (empirical) methods of research, and gives you a greater understanding of the principles of advanced research. You will consider the relevance of these methods for the study of law, which will enhance your understanding of the legal, social scientific and philosophical debates on methodology and practice. It will also enable you to evaluate your own work and that of other researchers and authors.

Option modules:

- Litigation: International Commercial Litigation
This module introduces you to the study of international commercial litigation, and examines issues arising in regard to jurisdiction, judgments and other procedural issues. You will also cover intra-European Union and traditional English aspects of conflict of laws in cross-border commercial litigation.

- Arbitration:
Comparative Commercial Arbitration: Law and Practice
You will be introduced to the study of comparative international commercial arbitration (excluding international arbitration between sovereign states and non-sovereign entities in the context of cross-border direct investment). You will examine the law and practice of international arbitration in the major arbitration centres of the world other than England (save for essential comparative purposes), and explore how different legal systems, and arbitrators from different legal cultures, interact in the course of resolution of commercial disputes by arbitration.

Foreign Direct Investment Arbitration
This module introduces you to the study of public international arbitration between sovereign states and non-sovereign entities, such as companies, in the context of cross-border direct investment. You will examine the investment and disinvestment relationships between disputing parties (State and private) and the nature, function and interpretation of foreign investment instruments. You will also explore the relationship between international law and municipal investment laws, and tribunals and awards.

International Commercial Arbitration
You will be introduced to the study of international commercial arbitration from the perspective of the English jurisdiction as an exemplar of an international centre for commercial arbitration. The aim is to include four pairs of overlapping relationships: between parties and tribunals; between parties and courts; between tribunals and courts; and between England and foreign fora. There will be focus, inter alia, on the ICC (institutional arbitration) and the New York Convention.

- Mediation:
Concepts, Evolution and Practice
This module introduces you to the modes and culture of mediation as a dispute resolution process in a range of contexts, with a detailed analysis of the growth of mediation practice and theory, as well as current and possible future trends. You will become familiar with the conceptual, legal and practical frameworks for mediation, and how it is used in the UK and internationally. You will also develop basic mediation skills, learn to appreciate the roles of those taking part in the mediation processes, and acquire communication and other skills which are particularly useful in the mediation context.

Restorative Justice: Cultures, Integration and Law
This module provides an introduction to the field of restorative justice, covering international, domestic and public aspects of the field, and the main processes involved in dispute prevention and resolution. The module includes consideration of conflicts within and between groups, and victim-offender mediation and other processes within the field.

- Negotiation:
Theory, Contexts and Practice
The aim of this module is to introduce the study and practice of negotiation in the contexts of international and municipal commerce, international affairs and international law, examining inter alia issues arising out of conflicts and disputes in those contexts. Among the areas covered are the relationships between pairs of negotiators; negotiators and the law; negotiators and ambient cultures; and theories and practices of negotiation.

- Public international:
Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes
This module will introduce you to the various techniques and institutions available in international law for resolving disputes between States. You will examine diplomatic means of dispute settlement, including negotiation and mediation, and legal means of dispute settlement – arbitration and litigation. You will also consider the availability of alternative mechanisms for the resolution of inter-state disputes, and the range of international courts and tribunals that now exist. The module refers to specific past and pending cases and disputes, and there will be a special emphasis on the law, practice and procedure of the International Court of Justice.

International Human Rights Law
This module introduces you to the protection of human rights in international law. You will gain an overview of the historical and philosophical background of human rights, and a greater understanding of the protection of human rights at the international level though the UN and regional systems (with particular emphasis on Europe). You will also study contemporary issues in international human rights law, such as refugees, humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, and terrorism and torture.

Associated careers

The course is designed to benefit a wide range of individuals who are committed to developing their knowledge, skills and insights into contentious international and commercial dispute resolution. The range of individuals who can benefit include: experienced practitioners such as potential judges, arbitrators, and mediators; other professionals who need to have advanced appreciation of international and commercial law, such as civil servants, diplomats, directors, insurers, journalists, linguists, and managers; and paralegals and newly qualified practitioners who need to fill in the gaps left by their existing qualifications and experience to date;

The course will also ideal if you want to progress towards a PhD programme. The course will also be beneficial for you if you are taking a gap year between career stages, and if you are from continental European Union or other countries and want to improve your English for career purposes.


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 and Commercial Dispute Resolution Law (LLM) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should have a good Honours degree in Law or any non-Law subject from a UK university, or the equivalent from a non-UK university, and satisfactory references. Other qualifications or experiential routes can sometimes be agreed. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent in each of the elements.

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