International Commercial Arbitration

Please note this course will not be offered in the 2018/19 academic year. 

Course summary

The world is a global market place as never before. Legal individuals contract with others across the globe. Parties can choose where and how to resolve their transnational disputes and in doing so protect their investment by international arbitration. Parties can benefit from a judgement - termed an award - that is generally more effective and enforceable than a judgement of a national court.

This course aims to provide a firm grounding in the legal aspects of ad hoc and institutional international arbitration as well as offering practical skills on how to conduct such arbitrations. It will include a range of topics including:

  • an introduction to arbitration
  • applicable laws
  • arbitration clauses
  • the arbitral tribunal
  • the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal
  • the conduct of arbitral proceedings
  • the role of the national courts
  • the award, challenges to the award, and recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award.

This course is aimed at those who are interested in acquiring a detailed understanding of how transnational disputes are resolved and knowledge of the legal environment which facilitates such a process. The primary focus will be on international commercial arbitration in practice, combining a substantive legal understanding together with a practitioners' perspective.


  1. Introduction to course and international commercial arbitration: What is international commercial arbitration? Why arbitration? Legal framework
  2. Arbitrability; Arbitration clauses and submission agreements: content/requirements, defective clauses
  3. The Arbitral Tribunal: Constitution, challenges, powers & duties; Conflicts of interest and disclosure
  4. Conduct of the arbitral proceedings: place of arbitration, preliminary steps, written submissions, evidence, hearings, and proceedings thereafter; Fast track arbitration
  5. The role of counsel, the parties, witnesses and others in arbitration
  6. Applicable laws to the arbitration procedure, to the substance, and to the agreement to arbitrate; UNCITRAL Model Law and 2010 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules
  7. Role of national courts in international commercial arbitration
  8. Arbitral award/challenges to award/recognition and enforcement
  9. New developments and a comparison of arbitration legislation around the world with particular reference to the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010
  10. Investment arbitration; Arbitration and States

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should have:

  • a firm substantive and practical understanding of international commercial arbitration.
  • a firm understanding of the inter-relationship between arbitration proceedings, national laws and international treaties and how to enforce arbitration awards worldwide.
  • a firm understanding of ad hoc and institutional arbitration.
  • developed skills of reading and critical analysis of arbitral legislation, International Treaties and Procedural Rules.
  • developed written and oral skills, including the clear succinct expression of ideas.
  • developed research skills and techniques in the field of international arbitration.


4000-word essay (60%); assessed course work (20%); participation in online activity (20%).

Terms and conditions

Please note the University reserves the right to make variations to the contents of programmes, including the range of courses offered, and the available choice of courses in any given year may change.

Find out more about the University's terms and conditions