LL.M. International Trade and Commercial Law

Oxford Brookes University | Oxford , United Kingdom
The LLM in International Trade and Commercial Law is ideally suited to the student from a law, business, management, politics or other social science background, offering an opportunity to explore this dynamic area of law.



With rapid globalisation, a sound understanding of international trade and commercial law is one of the most sought-after attributes of modern legal practice. Law firms, enterprises and governmental organisations place a high premium on graduates with commercial law expertise and skills. The LLM course allows you to study some of the most important aspects of international trade and commercial law. Options available for this degree include international trade law, international investment law, international commercial arbitration, international labour law and international corporate governance.

The LLM in International Trade and Commercial Law is ideally suited to students from a law, business, management, politics or other social science background, offering an opportunity to explore this dynamic area of law. The skills and knowledge offered are particularly useful if you want to work in law, import-export, insurance, investment, shipping and freight, commodities, or intellectual property. It would also appeal to those who intend to pursue careers in international and national trade, and marketing bodies, as well as in government and academic posts.

Why choose this course?
  • You will benefit from a range of teaching and learning strategies, from case studies to interactive seminars, presentations and moots.

  • Your fellow students are drawn from countries around the world giving you the opportunity to enjoy a truly international exchange of ideas.

  • With your future career in mind, particular emphasis is placed on skills training with opportunities provided to practice legal reasoning skills both orally and in writing.

  • Special support is provided for international students, particularly those whose first language is not English, to ensure that they find their feet quickly and are able to participate fully.

  • Consistently high ratings in the university guides and marks of excellence awarded by government teaching quality assessors.

Teaching, learning and assessment

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.

Career prospects

Graduates from the LLM succeed across an impressive range of careers from policy makers and human rights activists through to high-flying diplomats and commercial lawyers.

LLM staff can advise you and direct you to possible careers and employers depending on your particular needs and ambitions. Depending on your existing legal qualifications, you may wish to take additional legal training at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice.

Pursuing an academic career in law

Research is fundamental to the Law School and is one of the reasons we performed so well in the latest RAE. Your own interests will be reflected in the modules you choose and many students feel moved to continue their academic studies and become specialists themselves. Several former LLM students have chosen to become researchers, publishing and lecturing on their work and graduating to do a PhD.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline as early as possible
Tuition fee
  • 2016/17 Home / EU full-time on-campus fee: £5,320
  • 2016/17 Home / EU part-time on-campus fee: £2,720
  • 2016/17 International full-time on-campus fee: £12,850

Where part time fees are quoted it is for the first year only. Fees will increase by approximately 2% each year

For our most up-to-date information please see our website here:


Not specified
Start date
Credits (ECTS) 60 ECTS
Duration full-time 12 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Part-time, Full-time

Course Content

Students studying for the LLM in International Trade and Commercial Law are required to complete the compulsory module in Law of International Business Transactions (20 credits), and the compulsory module in International Economic Law (20 credits) in the first semester, as well as the compulsory module in Advanced Legal Research Methods (20 credits).

In the second semester you take the compulsory module in Advanced Issues of International Business Transactions (20 credits. In addition you can choose any two of the listed options below (20 credits each, totalling 40 M-level credits):

  • Law of International Business Transactions This module provides an introduction to the relevant components of business transactions within a global economy. It focuses on the 'micro' perspective of the private business actor, rather than the 'macro' or public policy perspective of the regulator. It introduces 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. Focus 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 module prepares for ĎAdvanced Issues of International Business Transactionsí.
  • 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 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 outlines the key international regimes at work in the contemporary trade and financial worlds, and allows you to explore and understand the reach of these institutions in international law.
  • Advanced Legal Research Methods This module provides the research, writing and oral skills necessary to engage with international law at an advanced level. It 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 you for the dissertation you will complete on a substantive area of law.
  • Advanced Issues of International Business Transactions This module gives those of you already acquainted with the law on International Business Transactions the possibility to go into depth on selected problems. It 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. 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 are covered. As this module seeks to be as topical as possible, the content may change in the light of developments.

In Semester 2 you can choose any two of the following options (20 credits each, totalling 60 master's level credits)*:

  • International Investment Law This module examines the laws, policies and legal issues affecting foreign investment and foreign enterprises, with special emphasis on the developing world and emerging markets. 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, it examines the dispute settlement regime of international investment.
  • International Commercial Arbitration This module introduces you to international commercial law and arbitration, and explores 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 you 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 Intellectual Property Law The module introduces you to the theory and basic concepts of intellectual property law, including patents, copyright, and trade marks. 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. You 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 explores 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.
  • 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 This module provides an in-depth understanding of issues relating to international environmental law and policies. It 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.
  • International Labour Law This module focuses on the work of the International Labour Organisation (the ILO). It starts by considering the history and workings of the ILO and the various theoretical issues raised by the search for universal and international standards for labour rights. The main part of the module is devoted to an examination of 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 of child labour. The difficulties of enforcement of these standards are examined. Reference is also made to other international standards such as those of the UN and the EU.
  • European Union Law This module provides an introduction to the constitutional and administrative law of the European Union. It starts with an examination of the political development and legal nature of the European Union and the operation of its Institutions. Discussion then focuses on the nature of Union Law, its relationship with national law and the role of the Court of Justice of the EU. Finally, a number of essential topics of substantive law such as free movement of people, EU citizenship, goods, fundamental rights chosen because of their centrality in the EU system and/or their intrinsic interest, are critically examined.
  • Dissertation 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 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 be aware that availability of options may vary from year to year subject to staff availability and student demand.

English Language Requirements

CAE score
193(Grade B)
TOEFL iBT® test (read more)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The UK government confirmed new requirements for secure English language testing for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more


You will normally be required to have (or to be expecting) a good honours degree, or an equivalent degree awarded by a university outside the United Kingdom. The degree may be in Law or in a related discipline. We welcome applications from both non-Law graduates and work experience-based candidates.

Those of you new to the academic study of law will be advised to read a number of recommended texts by way of induction before you begin the course. You are also encouraged to attend the induction sessions provided in the week prior to the beginning of the course.

English Language Requirements

An IELTS minimum score of 6.5 (with 6.0 in reading and writing) is required.

Work Experience

No work experience is required.

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