LLM in International Law modules
The compulsory modules are:
Principles of International Law
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.
Advanced Legal Research Methods
Provides the research, and writing skills necessary to engage with legal research at an advanced level. This includes research design, searching for relevant sources and materials, legal referencing and citation skills. It engages with 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. Finally, it prepares the students for the dissertation that each student has to complete on an area of law in practice.
Option 1: choose two modules from:
International Human Rights Systems
Introduces international human rights law, the institutions and the mechanisms for the protection of human rights at the international and regional levels. Throughout the module the student is invited to critically examine arguments and ideas about human rights, their philosophical underpinnings, and their contemporary legal and political meaning through an examination of the relevant law, contemporary debates and case studies.
International Investment Law
You will 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.
World Trade Law
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 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.
Theory of Human Rights
Introduces the foundations and principles that underpin the theory and practice of human rights. In addition to their historical evolution and philosophical foundations, their contemporary legal and political meaning and use is examined through relevant debates in domestic and international law. The module includes critical and non-western perspectives on contemporary human rights
The compulsory modules are:
International Economic Law
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.
Option 2: choose two modules from:
International Criminal Law
Focuses on the development of international criminal law following the establishment of the International Criminal Court, under the Rome Statute 1998. The module will focus on the remit of the Court, which is specifically to try those responsible for serious crimes under international law, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of aggression. The module will focus on these crimes examining the evidential burden necessary for arguing them before the Court. Drawing on the experiences of the Yugoslavia and Rwandan Criminal Tribunals, actual cases will be examined in depth, exploring the degree to which the new court will be bounded by such decisions. Explored in detail is the notion of individual responsibility under the new court and how it restricts immunity, particularly for Heads of State and former Heads of State. The issue of universal jurisdiction is examined demonstrating how the seeds of justice have been sown for a new international order as it pertains to state accountability and individual responsibility in a global world where human rights are paramount.
This module develops themes introduced on the compulsory module in International Law and complements themes addressed in International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law. The three main aims of this module are to introduce candidates to the international norms and institutions concerning the use of force (jus ad bellum), the law of armed conflict or international humanitarian law (jus in bello) and transitional justice (jus post bellum). The module develops students' legal and analytical skills, promotes human rights and humanitarian law and values, and encourages high quality discussion and research in this field.
International Refugees and Migrants
This module aims at providing an understanding of the issues and debates surrounding nationality and forced and economic migration at International and European law. It encourages a critical assessment of existing laws of nationality and migration in their political, social, historical context and encourages research skills in relation to the student's individual chosen topic. It also aims at providing an understanding of the main issues in relation to human trafficking and globalisation and development.
Banking and Financial Law
The module provides a comprehensive overview and introduction to the banking business and its nexus with financial instruments and markets. In order to do so the module situates the modern wholesale and retail financial services sector and the business organisations supplying these services in their historical trajectory from the earliest development of fractional reserve banking in European nation- states into the nineteenth and twentieth century with particular attention to the US and UK, and other large economies for comparative leverage (Germany, Japan). The core purposes of financial intermediation will be examined: lending (for corporate finance, project and trade financing), the relationship between banks and other forms of corporate finance, the quasi-public utility of the payments system, and the UK and EU standards governing provision of retail/consumer financial services. The causal role of banks and financial markets and participants in historical and recent recessions and depressions will be considered and classical regulatory responses (central banking as lender of last resort) and more recent innovations in banking regulations (soft law across border, Basel Accords inter al) assessed as a response to the role banks and the panoply of financial organisations (including the shadow banking sector) play in servicing the real economy.
Your LLM dissertation is an extended and supervised piece of 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 and 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, case studies, and group and individual presentations.
Particular emphasis is placed on skills training, with opportunities provided to acquire and practise legal reasoning as well as research and IT skills. Assessment methods include coursework and individual and group presentations.
All the members of the LLM course team are active researchers and encourage students to become involved in their respective areas of research by teaching specialist modules in which they have expertise and by supervising dissertations in their specialist subjects.
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Changes to programmes