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LLM in Comparative and European Private Law

Anyone working in legal practice, academia, national, or international institutions or corporations will need to engage with foreign laws and legal concepts. The study of private law from a comparative perspective is therefore essential to those seeking a career in an international or transnational context.

Professor Alexandra Braun leading a masters seminar

Drawing on both the civil and common law tradition, this programme offers the ideal platform for you to develop expertise in core areas of private law from a comparative perspective, and to benefit from research-led teaching from legal scholars who are recognised as experts in their field.

This unique masters programme provides you with the opportunity to obtain an advanced qualification that is both academically rigorous and professionally beneficial.

The LLM in Comparative and European Private Law offers a wide range of subjects that deal with various aspects of private law from a comparative perspective, as well as courses on legal theory and legal history. In addition, you can select further courses from a wide list of options offered by the School, allowing you to tailor the LLM to meet your specific interests.

Since 2018 this LLM programme offers two courses that focus on the comparative study of trust law. Those with a specific interest in studying trusts from a comparative perspective will therefore have a unique opportunity to specialise in this area.

Core courses cover the main areas of private law, including:

  • Contract law
  • Property law
  • The law of trusts
  • Delict and tort
  • Family and child law
  • International private law
  • as well as 'Reasoning with Precedent'.
Hannah Frahm, LLM in Comparative and European Private Law Graduate
Studying the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law at the University of Edinburgh was a game changer for me, both professionally and personally.
Hannah Frahm
LLM in Comparative and European Private Law, 2017

Scotland is a mixed legal system meaning that its laws are shaped by both the civil law and the common law traditions. Edinburgh is therefore the perfect place to study private law from a comparative perspective. Edinburgh’s private lawyers work in a tradition that is outward-looking by its very nature, maintaining active research links with scholars in continental Europe and with the larger common law world beyond the United Kingdom.

The LLM in Comparative and European Private Law attracts an international community of talented and ambitious students from common law, civil law, and mixed legal jurisdictions from all over the world.

The programme provides you with an excellent foundation for a career in legal practice in national and transnational law firms or employment in international organisations. It also offers a strong basis for doctoral research in private law and the growing fields of Comparative Private Law and European Private Law, whether in the UK, in Europe, or beyond.

Graduates of this programme have pursued successful careers in all sectors of legal practice or have undertaken doctoral research in the UK or their home countries.

As an LLM student at Edinburgh Law School you'll not only benefit from expert teaching, but you will also be part of a vibrant intellectual community of legal academics and students.

Edinburgh Law School has a long-standing and very distinguished tradition of scholarship in the field of comparative private law. Private law has been taught and researched at the University of Edinburgh since 1722, and Edinburgh Law School is widely recognised as one of the leading institutions in the world in the field of Comparative and European Private Law.

Closely associated with the LLM is the Edinburgh Centre for Private Law (ECPL) which was established in 2009. Much of the research carried out in the centre examines Private Law in a European and comparative context and fosters a lively dialogue between civilian and common law jurisdictions. Law reform is also strongly represented, with several members of the ECPL being current or former Law Commissioners.

Several members of the ECPL conduct research in various fields of private law, including contract law, unjustified enrichment, delict and tort, property law, trust law, succession law, family and child law not only in the Scottish context, but also in the comparative European and international, as well as historical, context. Their scholarly work has been as much concerned with the intellectual history of the law and the circulation of ideas across legal traditions as it has been with matters of legal doctrine.

Visit the Edinburgh Centre for Private Law website

The Edinburgh Centre for Private Law holds regular events featuring speakers from many different jurisdictions, which are attended by our LLM students. These events provide an excellent opportunity for you to meet legal scholars, legal practitioners, and judges interested in comparative and European private law.

The centre also organises the annual W. A. Wilson Memorial Lecture.

The centre hosts several international academic visitors every year. It also has a separate Distinguished Visitorship in Private Law scheme. Former Distinguished Visitors include Professor Danie Visser (UCT South Africa) and Professor Lionel Smith (McGill University).

Other centres that you may want to get involved with are the Centre for Legal History, the Edinburgh Centre for Commercial Law, and the Edinburgh Centre for Legal Theory.

Find out more about Edinburgh Law School's research centres and network

This programme can be taken full time over one year, or part time over two years subject to visa restrictions. It offers a wide range of subjects that deal with various aspects of private law from a comparative perspective, with the possibility of choosing additional courses so as to enable you to tailor the LLM to meet your specific interests.

The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. Full programme details are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.

View 2021/22 programme and course information for the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law

Courses shown below are for the 2021/22 academic year. Courses for the 2022/23 academic year will be confirmed in May 2022.

You can select between 80 and 120 credits of the following courses:

  • Child Law in Comparative Perspectives (20 credits)

    This course aims to examine child law from a comparative perspective by looking at the status of children and children’s legal rights from a range of jurisdictions, such as Scotland, England, United States, Australia and New Zealand. You will also be encouraged to share research from your home jurisdictions, where different.
    The course will identify common child law issues that will provoke discussion, challenge previously-held views and encourage reading and research to find common ground and establish ways to pursue equality, whilst respecting cultural and religious backgrounds.
    The issues to be addressed will include: the legal definition of “child”; welfare vs protection; evolving capacity of a child; state intervention; criminal responsibility; UNCRC; and religious and cultural considerations.

  • Contract Law in Europe (20 credits)

    This course is a comparative contract law course. Its main focus is fundamental concepts of the law of contract, which arise in all systems. The course compares national systems of contract law, principally Scots, English, French and German law. The course also considers some of the harmonisation initiatives that have taken place in Europe over the last decade, principally the Draft Common Frame of Reference (Principles, Definitions and Model Rules of European Private Law).

  • Comparative and International Trust Law (20 credits)

    The aim of this course is to examine the notion of ‘trust’ from a functional perspective. It explores the essential nature of trusts, as well as their core features across a number of jurisdictions. The course is not limited to any particular system of trust law, but is international and comparative in its approach. The trust jurisdictions considered include England, the United States of America, selected ‘offshore’ jurisdictions, mixed legal systems (e.g. Scotland, South Africa, and Quebec), and civil law systems, such as, for instance, France and Germany. European harmonisation projects and other international trust instruments will also be considered. This course does not require any previous knowledge of trust law. However, it does presuppose a basic knowledge of the law of obligations, of property law, of succession law, of insolvency law, and of international private law. It also presupposes familiarity with basic comparative methodologies as well as a basic understanding of the two major legal traditions examined, the civil and the common law.

  • Delict and Tort (20 credits) - this course will not be offered in the 2021-22 academic year

    This is an advanced level course on the law of delict. It will examine the treatment of key areas of liability in Scots and English law. The approach adopted will be comparative and reference will be made throughout to other Anglo-American and European legal systems. Fundamental conceptual structures will be compared, as well as specific problems, with a view to illuminating not only differences but also the common features of those systems. Particular attention will be given to the impact of Human Rights law on the law of delict and current debates on the extent of the constitutionalisation of private law. Recent initiatives to establish a common European law of torts will also be discussed.
    The course is designed mainly for those students who have already studied the law of obligations in their own system. If you have not, you may still apply for a place on the course, but you should be aware that additional study may be required.
    You will require an undergraduate degree in law to study this course and it is particularly suitable if you who have already studied delict/tort in reasonable depth at undergraduate level and wish to pursue your interest further in a comparative perspective.

  • Fundamentals of Comparative Private Law (20 credits)

    The growing permeability of frontiers, the openness of national economies and societies, has a deep impact on the evolution of the law, as legal concepts and principles flow across borders. Anyone envisaging a career with an international dimension will need to engage not just with foreign laws and foreign legal concepts, but will also be confronted with different legal cultures. It is therefore crucial to be familiar with the opportunities but also the difficulties that arise when stepping outside one's own legal system. The aim of this course is to provide students with a general introduction to the basics and the methodology of comparative law, and to equip them with the tools necessary to conduct comparative analysis. It further introduces student to the historical developments of the major legal traditions and their respective styles. The course therefore offers an ideal foundation for students who want to study core areas of private law across both civil and common law jurisdictions.

  • Insolvency Law (20 credits)
    An examination of selected issues of insolvency law, including personal and corporate insolvency. The course will primarily focus on law within the United Kingdom and will take an advanced look at a variety of topics. Theoretical and comparative law material from a variety of systems (in Europe and the anglo-american tradition) will be used to examine the subjects studied.

  • International Private Law: Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments (20 credits)

    This course deals with civil jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments, issues which have been central to recent developments within International Private Law. It will consider the provisions contained in EU instruments, focusing on the Brussels I bis Regulation but also looking at the Insolvency Regulation and Brussels II bis Regulation. The course will also examine proposals for reform of these instruments. In addition there will be consideration of appropriate Hague Private International Law Conventions, especially the Choice of Court Convention and the current work of the Hague Conference in the field of recognition and enforcement of judgments.

  • Legal Decision Making (20 credits)

    This course will explore aspects of the mental process of legal decision-making not usually covered by standard conceptions of legal argumentation, including current research on legal heuristic principles and 'defaults' used consciously and unconsciously by professional legal decision-makers (e.g. judges, lawyers, arbitrators). Recent research has showed that such processes are much more complex than mere 'hunches' or 'eureka moments' concerning what the decision in an instant case should be.

  • Trusts across the Common Law World (20 credits) - this course will not be offered in the 2021-22 academic year

    This course investigates the distinctive analyses of trust law and asset management that originated in the Equity jurisdiction of the English Court of Chancery. These now extend to the major common law jurisdictions of the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the many “offshore” trust jurisdictions of the Caribbean and the Channel Islands.

  • Comparative Property Law (20 credits)

    This is an advanced level course on the law of property. It will examine the treatment of key areas within this subject, in particular ownership and limited real rights. Both movable and immovable property will be considered. The approach adopted will be comparative and reference will be made throughout to other jurisdictions. This will include continental Europe and the USA as well as other mixed legal systems such as Louisiana and South Africa. Fundamental conceptual structures will be compared, as well as specific problems, with a view to illuminating not only differences but also the common features of those systems. Recent initiatives to harmonise property law in Europe will be considered, in particular the Draft Common Frame of Reference.
    The course is designed mainly for those students who have already studied the law of property in their own system. Those who have not may still apply for a place in the course, but they should be aware that additional study may be required.

You will have the option to take between 0 and 40 credits of courses from different subject areas offered by the Law School, depending on availability and with the express permission of the programme director. Depending on demand, space on courses outside the core courses may be limited.

Full programme details, including core and optional courses is available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.

View 2021/22 programme and course information for the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law

Having successfully completed 120 credit points of courses within the LLM, you will be ready to move onto a single piece of independent and in-depth research. The 10,000 word dissertation allows you to focus on a preferred topic from within the field of comparative and European private law, normally based on a subject you have studied in one of your courses during the programme.

You will be assigned an academic dissertation supervisor who will provide you with support and guidance while you prepare and write your dissertation.

The dissertation is a challenging but rewarding endeavour, asking you to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the relevant literature and an ability to engage critically with a range of sources, drawing on the skills and knowledge you have developed during the course of the programme. Students are encouraged to show originality and evidence of independent thinking, whether in terms of the material used, or the manner in which it is presented.

The dissertation is written in the summer months (April to August) after the taught courses are successfully completed.

Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances or lack of demand for particular courses, we may not be able to run all courses as advertised come the start of the academic year.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

Staff teaching on the core courses of the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law for 2021/22 are experts in their field and are actively involved in cutting-edge research in various areas of private law.

Academic staff teaching courses offered on this programme may include:

Professor Alexandra Braun - Programme Director 2021/22

Alexandra Braun holds the Lord President Reid Chair in Law at the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Braun completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Genoa and received a PhD in Comparative Private Law from the University of Trento. Prior to joining Edinburgh Law School in August 2017, she was Professor of Comparative Private Law at the University of Oxford, as well as a Fellow and Tutor in Law at Lady Margaret Hall (Oxford). From 2004-2007 she was a Junior Research Fellow at St. John’s College, Oxford. 

Professor Braun is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law in Oxford and an Honorary Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She is also an elected Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law.

Professor Braun is the Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at Edinburgh Law School, and Programme Director of the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law. She is also a Member of the Steering Committee of the Edinburgh Centre for Private Law and the Series Editor of the Edinburgh Studies in Law series published by Edinburgh University Press.

Professor Braun has broad research interests in comparative law and legal history. Her current research focuses primarily on the comparative study of both succession law and the law of trusts, as well as on the study of the circulation of legal ideas across legal traditions. She is in the process of completing a monograph that provides a comparative study of broken promises of an inheritance, to be published with Oxford University Press. 

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Amalia Amaya joined the School of Law at Edinburgh University in 2019 with a British Academy Global Professorship Award. Professor Amaya completed a B.A. in Law at the University of Alicante and a B.A. in Linguistics at the University of Barcelone. She obtained an LLM and a PhD from the European University Institute and an LLM and a SJD from Harvard Law School. In 2007 she joined the Institute for Philosophical Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where she has a position as Research Professor. She has also held visiting appointments at the University of Texas at Austin, University College at Oxford University, and Queen Mary University of London.

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Professor Duarte d'Almeida teaches mainly in the areas of general jurisprudence and legal argumentation.  He joined the University of Edinburgh as a Chancellor’s Fellow in 2012. Before that he was a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, and a PERSP post-doctoral researcher at the University of Girona.

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Katy’s particular area of interest is Child and Family Law. Between 2002 and 2007, Katy lectured and taught courses on the LL.B, Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DPLP) and Trainee Continuing Professional Development (TCPD) before being appointed as a Teaching Fellow in the Law School in 2008 and a Senior Teaching Fellow in 2014.

Before joining the Law School she headed up the Scottish Child Law Centre from 1997 to 2007. Katy is a qualified solicitor, Safe guarder for the Children’s Hearing System, Reporter in Family Law Actions in Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

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Laura Macgregor holds the chair of Commercial Contract Law and was formerly Visiting Professor in International Commercial Law, Radboud University, Nijmegen.

Laura's interests lie in the field of commercial law, specifically contract law, agency law and partnership. Her research considers Scots law in its comparative context, both European and global. She is also interested in legal history.

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Dr Verónica Ruiz Abou-Nigm specialises in private international law and shipping law. She has a great deal of experience in these fields both in practice in Uruguay and as an academic in the UK. Her main areas of research and teaching are private international law and shipping law. Other research interests include international commercial litigation, international commercial arbitration, air law, oil and gas law, comparative law, and the interaction between public and private international law.

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Andrew Simpson holds the Chair of Scottish Legal History at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating from the University of Aberdeen with an LLB and an LLM (by Research), he went on to receive his PhD degree from the University of Cambridge.

For ten years he was an academic member of staff at the School of Law in the University of Aberdeen, where he taught a wide range of subjects, including Foundations of Private law, Property law, Scottish Legal History, Comparative law, Succession and Trusts and Corporeal Moveable Property (Honours). He has also taught annually as a visting lecturer in Comparative law at the University of Bergen in Norway since 2015.

His research interests focus primarily on Scottish legal history and Property law, including in particular the law governing corporeal moveables. In terms of his legal historical work, much of his current research explores clarifying how sixteenth-century Scottish jurists articulated the authority of the law, and how they summarised and reorganised materials found in the volumnious texts of the law to facilitate the invention or discovery of arguments that could be used in legal practice. He is also interested in exploring how Scottish jurists engaged with different strands of contemporary continental European legal thought to articulate their views on these matters. His other legal historical work has focused on the operation of the medieval Scottish common law in the burghs, and also on the doctrinal development of specific areas of the law – notably the law governing extinctive and acquistive prescription.

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Andrew Steven holds the Chair of Property Law. From 2011 to 2019 he worked at the Scottish Law Commission where he was the Commissioner responsible for property law reform. His research work has focussed on property law and more particularly on rights in security. 

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Lorna Richardson joined the Law School after seven years practising as a commercial litigator, with major Scottish law firms. Her particular interests include contract law, particularly in relation to formation, interpretation and breach. In her time in practice Lorna acted in a number of contract dispute cases which generated significant comment. Lorna is also interested in contract law in a comparative context.

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Claudio Michelon graduated LLB in 1992 from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) and, in 1996 obtained an M.Phil by research from the same University. He gained his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in 2001. From 2001 to 2006 he lived in Brazil and was an assistant professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul while also practicing as a lawyer. He joined Edinburgh Law School in 2007.

Claudio Michelon's research focuses on (i) legal reasoning and legal decision-making and on (ii) the underlying normative structure of private law doctrines, rules, and concepts.

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Professor Fox holds the Chair of Common Law. He is a barrister in England and Wales, with a door tenancy at Maitland Chambers in London and is a contributing editor to recent editions of Snell’s Equity. His research interests have a strong historical and comparative focus. They concentrate on the formation of modern trust and property doctrine in common law systems, and on the private law applicable to money.

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John MacLeod joined the Law School in 2018 from the University of Glasgow. His interests range across private and commercial law, with a particular focus on structural and taxonomical questions, the law of delict, the law of property and the law of debt. He has worked extensively with the Scottish Law Commission and the Law Reform Committee of the Law Society of Scotland. He also delivers CPD across a range of topics.

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The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2022/23. Staff listed as on sabbatical will not be available to teach for the duration of their sabbatical.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

Find out what it's like to study for an LLM in Comparative and European Private Law at Edinburgh Law School from our current and former students.

Federico, Uruguay

Federico, a lawyer from Uruguay, studied the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law in the 2019/20 academic year, graduating in 2020. In this video he talks about his experience of studying for an LLM at Edinburgh Law School, life in Edinburgh, completing his studies during the Covid-19 pandemic and how the LLM has helped him in his career.

Céline studied the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law in the 2018-19 academic year. In this video she talks about her experiences on the programme and life in Edinburgh.

Thomas studied the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law in 2018-19, graduating in 2019. He is currently doing a PhD at the University of Bayreuth (Germany).

My time in Edinburgh has been highly enriching and full of valuable experiences which I know will stand me in good stead moving forward. After studying law in Germany for five years, I wanted to go beyond the German legal system and learn about others. I wanted to look at legal systems from a theoretical standpoint and to be able to identify broader trends and by doing so reflect differently about the law in my home jurisdiction.

Thomas Kosmider, LLM in Comparative and European Private Law, 2019

Edinburgh is the perfect place to study comparative law. The Scottish jurisdiction combines aspects of both common and civil law, including those perceived common law traditions such as the trust in their civil law based property law. Once you see that such combinations are possible you start to confront and question your own assumptions that you came with. This is a helpful process regardless of whether you work or conduct research in a comparative law environment or any other area of law. I am therefore very grateful that the LLM not only met, but exceeded my expectations.

The teaching is led by scholars who are deeply involved in comparative law and you often come across their papers and have the opportunity to discuss them during the seminars. Some of the professors have also been involved in international comparative and harmonisation projects and are able to provide first-hand insight. As a comparative law student, I was also invited to research seminars at the Edinburgh Centre of Private Law where students can meet and learn from international and distinguished scholars.

As the classes are composed of students from a variety of different jurisdictions from all over the world, everyone has a different legal background, which enhances the discussions in the seminar enormously.

Finally, Edinburgh is a wonderful, beautiful city beyond Old College. It is rich in culture and offers a huge variety of events for every audience. Its close proximity to the sea and to the mountains makes Scotland’s capital uniquely located and suitable for almost any activity.

Anna-Louise Nötzel studied the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law in the 2017-18 academic year.

Paul talks about his experience of studying for an LLM in Comparative and European Private Law at Edinburgh Law School, the University of Edinburgh.

Rodrigo, from Chile, talks about his experience of studying for an LLM at Edinburgh Law School and about life in Edinburgh as a student.

Ruben van Uden studied the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law in the academic year 2016-17, graduating in 2017. He is currently doing a PhD in private law at Leiden Law School.

Pursuing the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law at the University of Edinburgh has been a very enlightening experience. After obtaining a degree in Dutch private law, I was looking for a way to both widen and deepen my knowledge of private law in a comparative manner and I really found that in this LLM programme.

Ruben van uden, LLM in Comparative and European Private Law, 2017

The Scots legal system being a mix of common and civil law, I learned a lot about both traditions and the way history has shaped them in, for instance, Scotland, England, Germany and France. It therefore helped me understand legal reasoning and legal culture in legal systems other than the Dutch one.

Particularly valuable has been the fact that the teaching staff consisted of experts in their fields who, at the same time, were very open to share their knowledge, experience and ideas, both during the courses and afterwards.

An important factor here was also that this particular LLM programme is relatively small-scaled and it therefore facilitates the formation of a real community of academics and students. It is this community that – now I that I have obtained the degree – to me is a major benefit of the program; although most of us have now left Edinburgh, the community remains and keeps being very valuable, both professionally and socially.

Robert studied the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law in the 2016-17 academic year, graduating in 2017. At the time of this interview Robert was studying the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at Nottingham Law School and working on pro-bono cases at the Legal Advice Centre. He was also volunteering with the Free Representation Unit and is hoping to become a barrister at the Bar of England and Wales.

Federico studied the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law in the academic year 2016-17, graduating in 2017. At the time of writing he had just passed a highly competitive competition and been selected as one of the Junior Lawyers of the State (Procuratore dello Stato) working for the Italian Government. 

"The LLM in Comparative and European Private Law has represented a decisive chapter in my academic and professional growth as an Italian and European lawyer. With a wide spectrum of subjects, from Contracts in Europe to Comparative and International Trusts, from Property Law to Delict and Torts, this LLM has enriched my knowledge of fundaments of private law not only in relation to the classic distinction between common law and civil law, but especially of legal systems within those two legal traditions. 

Moreover, the practice of assessing and understanding legal concepts deeply rooted in Pan-European legal traditions in private law (Roman Law, Canon Law, etc.) employed in each seminar, and by high qualified academic staff, has created a stimulating environment amongst students allowing us to develop a consciousness of the immense common heritage European legal systems share. 

Also, thanks to a rigorous comparative approach, and through the elaboration of legal arguments in essays and written papers, this Master Programme has enhanced my capacity of critical analysis, which has played a significant role in obtaining my current job."

Mat studied the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law in the 2014-15 academic year. At the time of writing, he is Lecturer in Law at the University of Glasgow. There, he teaches English and Scots private and commercial law. His research interests include topics in private and commercial law across legal systems in the Common and Civil Law traditions, as well as in Mixed Legal Systems.

Mat's Experience

I have been interested in comparative private law since the second and third years of my English undergraduate law degree in Law and French, when I got my first taste of comparative law, then studied law for a year in France.

The University of Edinburgh's School of Law is an excellent place in which to do comparative private law. My time studying for the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law included some of the most intellectually satisfying experiences of my life. Lecturers are knowledgeable, friendly, and generous, as are the library staff, and all involved in running the programme. Resources are generally brilliant, and if others were needed, we were encouraged to ask for them.

Students on the degree come from all over the world, so you work alongside a wide range of smart, open-minded people. They know how to have fun, and you can learn from them all the time. I was so taken with Edinburgh that I stayed to do a PhD on unjust(ified) enrichment in English, French, and Scots law.

More generally, Scotland is a great country with great people, and Edinburgh is a great city. I still live here, and have no plans to move just yet! There is always something to do or see, and it is easy to go elsewhere. If you come to study at Edinburgh, your down time will never be dull!

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

This programme can be studied full time over one year, or part time over two years subject to visa restrictions.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for students holding conditional offers (for example, you may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test) and for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements (for further, country-specific information, please consult the website of the University's Edinburgh Global) and/or to apply for University accommodation.

Apply for September 2022 entry

Entry requirements

We require a minimum 2:1 honours degree from a UK university, or its international equivalent, in law. We will also consider candidates with a degree in a related discipline which includes relevant prior study. Entry to this programme is competitive and meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.

Supporting your application

  • Relevant work experience is not required but may increase your chances of acceptance.
  • Relevant professional qualifications will be considered.
  • Preference will be given to those with grades above the minimum requirements due to strong competition for places on this programme.

If you have a non-UK degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.

Check your degree

Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.

Students whose first language is not English must therefore show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 7.0 in the writing component and 6.5 in each other module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 25 in writing and 23 in each other module)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 185 in writing and 176 in each other module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 70 in the writing component and 62 in each other component.


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Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

We also accept an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The UK Government's website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.

View the UKVI list of majority English speaking countries

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about the University's English language requirements

Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.

English language support

The University runs a series of programmes for English Language Education, including a pre-sessional English Language Programme intended to strengthen your English Language skills before you start your programme of study.

Find out more about English language support offered by the University

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2022/23 are provided in the table below.

Round Application deadline Decisions by
1 06 December 2021 20 January 2022
2 07 February 2022 06 April 2022
3 18 April 2022 01 June 2022
4 30 June 2022 15 July 2022

We aim to review applications and make selection decisions throughout the cycle and we monitor application numbers carefully to ensure we are able to accommodate all those who receive offers. It may therefore be necessary to close a programme earlier than the published deadline and if this is the case we will place a four-week warning notice on the relevant programme page.

Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 18 August 2022.

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes (please upload the full transcript showing results from all years of study).
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

Students at this University must not undertake any other concurrent credit bearing studies in this (or in any other) institution, unless the College has granted permission. The College must be satisfied that any additional credit-bearing studies will not restrict the student’s ability to complete their existing programme of study. Students will not be permitted to undertake concurrent degree programmes in any circumstances.

If you are studying at this or another institution just prior to the start of your postgraduate studies you must have finished these studies before the start of the programme to which you have an offer.

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University's applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University's guidance for unsuccessful applicants

Please note that if you receive an offer of a place to study the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law and later decide that you do not want to accept your place, we do not allow deferrals. In this case you would have to reapply for the following academic year.

You can find full and detailed application guidance on the University's website.

Find out more about applying to the University of Edinburgh

The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

University of Edinburgh admissions terms and conditions

Apply for September 2022 entry

Contact us

If you have any questions about applying to the LLM in Comparative and European Law please don't hesitate to contact us.