Students studying for the LLM in International Economic Law are required to complete the compulsory module in International Economic Law (20 credits), the compulsory module in Advanced Legal Research Methods (20 credits) and one optional module (20 credits) during the first semester.
International Economic Law
This module examines the key aspects of the public international law of trade and finance. International trade, in its public sense, comprises the multilateral regulation of trade through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as well as the many free trade agreements that have been concluded outside the WTO framework. These agreements between governments limit and determine their powers to restrict the flow of goods and services between countries. As such they form a significant backdrop to the conduct of international business transactions between private parties as well as the conditioning of trade activity by all States. The majority of the module focuses on the fundamental principles of international trade contained in GATT 1994 under the WTO Agreement. In addition, the module examines international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank that have a role in the regulation and dispensation of financial goods, including currency movements and major project funding. This module is intended to outline the key international regimes at work in the contemporary trade and financial worlds, and allow students to explore and understand the reach of these institutions in international law.
Advanced Legal Research Methods
This module aims to provide the research, writing and oral skills necessary to engage with international law at an advanced level. The module begins by examining the basics of conducting legal research, including research design, searching for relevant sources and materials; legal referencing and citation skills. It further offers the opportunity to practise writing and oral presentation skills, relating to both the process of writing, as well as the end product, including presenting findings to different audiences. It considers the nature of research in general; the distinctive features of legal research and the range of approaches and research methodologies to be found within international legal scholarship. Finally, it prepares the students for the dissertation that each student has to complete on a substantive area of law.
Law of International Business Transactions
The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction to the relevant components of business transactions within a global economy. The module focuses on the “micro” perspective of the private business actor, rather than the “macro” or public policy perspective of the regulator. It begins by introducing the basic transactions for the purchase and sale of goods, an analysis of various types of contracts, and remedies available for the breach thereof. Discussion subsequently focuses on special problems arising between buyer and seller where goods are carried in a container, followed by an examination of the various types of contracts for the carriage of goods by sea. The focus of the module then turns to banker's commercial credits, examining both the types of credits and then the contractual effects between the buyer and seller; buyer and banker; and the seller and banker. After sale of goods, the module proceeds to more complicated distribution and licensing agreements, and ultimately to joint venture and foreign direct investment agreements. Finally, the module considers dispute resolutions in international business transactions. This course prepares for ‘Advanced Issues of International Business Transactions’.
This module focuses on the law and legal framework governing the international community. We examine the philosophical underpinnings of international law including the nature, origins and basis of international law; the main sources of international law, including the importance of customs, treaties, general legal principles and international case precedents in interpreting international law; the basic rights and obligations of international actors (such as state responsibility, governmental obligations not to interfere with other, immunities and jurisdictional powers). The International Court of Justice is studied in relation to the judicial settlement of international disputes. The module builds on case studies and group exercises to assist the learning experience
International Human Rights Law: Law and Institutions
This module examines the protection of human rights under international law. It considers the protection afforded under the United Nations system, the European system, focusing on the European Convention on Human Rights, the Inter-American system, and the African system. The major international instruments are critically assessed and the effectiveness of the protection provided is questioned. Special attention is given to a range of topics which are of current interest, including issues relating to globalisation, corporate liability for human rights violations and the protection of social and economic rights.
In Semester 2 the student can choose any three of the following options (20 credits each, totalling 60 master's-level credits)*:
International Investment Law
The module aims to examine the laws, policies and legal issues affecting foreign investment and foreign enterprises, with special emphasis on the developing world and emerging markets. The reasons why investors invest abroad and why host countries permit and often actively encourage foreign investment are explored. The role that law plays in the investment process at both global and local levels is critically examined, including the rules, principles and institutions of public international law that affect direct foreign investment, host country laws that reward and regulate foreign investment, and the law of investment contracts. The module also examines core legal principles concerning investment operation, such as standards of treatment, expropriation and compensation. Finally, the course will examine the dispute settlement regime of international investment.
International Commercial Arbitration
This aim of this module is to introduce students to international commercial law and arbitration, and to explore core elements such as arbitral agreements, applicable law, the enforcement of arbitral awards and arbitrations involving state parties. A key aspect of international commercial arbitration that students will examine is the relationship between international commercial arbitration treaties and institutions and their counterparts in national laws. The module also addresses the use of arbitration in settling foreign investment disputes and critically examines the role international commercial law and arbitration plays in the process of economic globalisation.
International Labour Law
This module examines international labour law, concentrating on the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It starts by considering the history and workings of the ILO. It then examines various theoretical issues raised by the search for universal and international standards for labour rights. The main focus of the module is on the fundamental labour standards, as identified by the ILO itself, those being rights to freedom of association, the abolition of forced labour, non-discrimination and the reduction in child labour. The difficulties of enforcement of these standards are examined. Reference is made to other international standards such as those of the UN and the EU.
International Intellectual Property Law
The module aims to introduce students to the theory and basic concepts of intellectual property law, including patents, copyright, and trademarks. It explores the international law that defines and regulates them, particularly the TRIPS Agreement, and the relationship between international law and national intellectual property law. Students are then invited to explore and analyse areas of current controversy, such as the relationship between patents and traditional knowledge, the challenge of biotechnology, the emerging protection of personality rights, the morality exception to patentability and the problem of patenting pharmaceuticals and protecting the needs of developing countries.
Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporations largely adopt corporate social responsibility voluntarily. In a globalised world, most businesses are conducted transnationally which means that the effective regulation of good business practices, the preservation of CSR and good corporate governance are met with difficulties. This module advances the idea that corporate social responsibility and good corporate governance of business practices can be achieved effectively through a joint activity. The role of key participants acting together such as corporations, their shareholders, their directors, their stakeholders (eg employees), host States and their regulating bodies, their partners, NGOs and international organisations is significant. This module aims to explore the legal mechanisms (such as regulations) as well as the non-legal mechanisms (such as incentivising factors) that ensure participants working together to achieve CSR and good practices.
International Human Rights Law: Law and Practice
This module examines international human rights law through key, wide-ranging case studies including the right to development, group rights, self-determination and human rights in wartime, considering how contemporary legal and political contexts affect IHRL today. Using primary documents, case law and academic commentary, each topic is appraised from a practical perspective, underpinned by theory and principles.
Advanced Issues of International Business Transactions
This course aims at giving students who already are acquainted with the law on International Business Transactions the possibility to go into depth into selected problems. The course is designed to allow intense discussions of these problems in order to raise the sensitivity for the issues at stake and to lead to a research oriented approach. The course will treat a selection of topical contemporary issues of international business transactions, such as international e-commerce, UN Sales Convention (CISG), UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, charter parties, multimodal transport, marine insurance, agency agreements, international franchising, FDI and corruption. The course seeks to be as topical as possible, so the content may change in the light of developments.
Law, Globalisation and Development
This module examines the history, theories and application of the concepts of development and globalisation under international law. In particular it focuses on the key aspects of economic activity and environmental protection currently regulated under the auspices of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and other international and regional institutions. These systems are subjected to critical assessment and the positive and negative effects of the global project of development are questioned. The module also devotes time to contemporary topics relating to the right to development, food security, post-conflict and transitional countries, natural resource law, foreign direct investment and protests against development projects and programmes.
International Environmental Law
The purpose of this module is to provide an in-depth understanding of issues relating to international environmental law and policies. The module begins by examining the role of International Law in dealing with environmental issues, including philosophies and theories of environmental regulation and the sources of International Environmental Law. Discussion then focuses on issues of governance, including national, supranational and international institutions and their regulation of the environment. Issues in environmental litigation are examined followed by discussion of key contemporary debates relating to environmental protection. The module does not attempt a comprehensive review of this very wide topic. Instead, it focuses on key themes that run through the problem of environmental regulation in international law, using specific regulatory regimes as illustrations.
Your LLM dissertation is an extended and supervised piece on work on a particular aspect of international law chosen in consultation with your course tutors. It is an opportunity to gain knowledge through systematic academic enquiry and for you to demonstrate your ability to explore and present legal arguments. The style of research may range from empirical investigation to textual analysis. You will develop transferable skills in research, information and project management.
You will be encouraged to choose an international law topic of personal interest or one related to your occupation. Full-time students will normally begin preliminary work on the dissertation in Semester 1 and formalise the topic and structure of the dissertation in Semester 2. The main work on the dissertation will normally take place from June to mid-August.
Please note, as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module lists you choose from may vary from the ones shown here. Availability of options may also vary from year to year subject to staff availability and student demand.
Teaching and learning
A wide diversity of teaching methods are employed throughout the LLM courses in order to provide a high-quality learning experience. These include lectures, seminar discussions, individual and small group tutorials, moots, case studies, and group and individual presentations.
Particular emphasis is placed on skills training, with opportunities provided to acquire and practise legal method as well as research and IT skills. Assessment methods include coursework and individual and group presentations.
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