LLM in Information Technology Law
The LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning focuses on the regulatory framework that governs information technology within international, European and domestic settings.
The programme is highly topical, exploring different strategies for regulating information technologies, considering how current strategies have emerged and changed since the early days of the Internet. New developments in technology are a key focus, as these force us to constantly review the very concept of ‘information technology’, how it shapes society and what appropriate regulatory responses look like.
Information technology regulation operates across jurisdictions, and a cross-fertilisation of regulatory responses occurs at the interface between domestic, regional and international law. Our aim is to enable you to understand this cross-fertilisation, to be able to contextualise it and place yourself within it. Given the fast-paced nature of IT law, we aim to give you the skills so that you are able to understand current and historic regulatory approaches, to better engage with emerging and future issues too.
In a constantly evolving programme dynamic, you will encounter a range of topics which will change over time but could include:
- regulatory approaches to information technology
- cloud computing
- information rights
- online privacy
- media law
- communications law.
By the end of your studies you should emerge with an understanding of information technology law not just in its legal but also its social, ethical, cultural and commercial contexts.
This is an exciting time to study the law and regulation of information technology. Recent years have seen an enormous expansion in e-commerce, and the development of new and increasingly participatory services on the internet, such as social media platforms.
The pace and scale of technological development in recent years has been incredible. Robots, artificial intelligence, virtual realities and neurotechnology are no longer science fiction and, in many parts of the world, technology is completely embedded into everyday life.
The programme is relevant to anyone who has an interest in studying the law of information technology.
Students join us from all round the world bringing invaluable perspectives to the online learning community – not least their professional experience, and knowledge of technologies and business methods. We welcome applications from a variety of professionals including:
- lawyers who want to specialise in IT
- information professionals
- computer scientists
- IT professionals
- professionals working in technology and telecommunications companies
- researchers considering a PhD in this area.
You will benefit from the unique opportunity to engage in an active online learning community, guided by academic lawyers from Edinburgh Law School.
Learning and teaching on the programme is highly interactive, informed by academics’ current research interests. Staff regularly work on different (often multidisciplinary) research projects, publications and speak at international conferences and events. This research culture helps them to keep pace with important changes in IT law, which in turn feeds into the teaching you receive.
As you would expect, the programme will enable you to develop the essential legal skills of analysing texts and statutes, drawing conclusions from current developments, reading cases and being able to consider. Furthermore, as IT lawyers, in addition to legal concerns, we increasingly need to consider the societal, technical and ethical dimensions of computing. Thus, we also need to understand how technology works, the risks it poses to society and how technology itself could even be made differently to address these problems. Accordingly, the programme draws on a range of perspectives and areas of expertise from staff to provide you with the tools needed to understand legal and wider aspects of living in the digital society.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
The LLM in Information Technology Law offers an extensive collection of information technology law courses for you to choose from and the option to engage with a range of different subject areas, including: commercial law, intellectual property law, and medical law.
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 Programme Tables website.
Courses shown below are scheduled to run in the 2019/20 academic year.
You must select between 80 and 120 credits from the following courses:
- Communications Law (20 credits)
This course covers the policy and regulation of electronic communications, focusing particularly on the Internet and its most current challenges.
The course will be organised along two main directions: a number of specific themes among the most widely discussed within both the academic and practitioner fields such as price control, social and universal service obligation, separation and new entry, technological neutrality (e.g. between wired and wireless), cross-border agreements, and consumer protection, will be discussed. Meanwhile the course will also focus on over-arching, cross-cutting questions of these days, such as policy and regulatory rationales of communications law and the interplay between national and supra-national decision-making institutions.
The course will take a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach exploring perspectives on the communications industries from other disciplines (particularly the relationship between law and innovation and between communication technologies and society) and the interaction between communications law and other regulatory perspectives (e.g. competition, trade, convergence).
- EU Data Protection Law (20 credits)
This course will examine the EU data protection regime as set out in the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679) on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data (GDPR). It will provide you with an overview of the terminology and underlying principles of data protection and address specific areas and requirements for data controllers and processors that are subject to the new EU regime.
- Electronic Commerce Law (20 credits)
This course aims to provide an in-depth look at the legal issues surrounding electronic commerce - including business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and consumer to consumer (C2C) forms - and digital applications to support the sharing economy, creative processes and the public sector.
Throughout the course we will review (a) traditional legal issues surrounding business in an electronic format and the challenges of the advent of digital technologies, concerning particularly the identification of jurisdiction, the formal validity of electronic transactions, security and authentication, contract formation and electronic payment systems, and online consumer protection issues; (b) digital convergence and content regulation, the impact of online advertising, search engine functionalities and marketing; (c) the legal discipline of technological applications in the contexts of the public sector, smart cities and open democracy; and policies to support and enable digital tools to the advantage of creative industries and economic growth.
- Information Technology Law (20 credits)
This course responds to the immense impact information technology and the Internet have had, and are having, on substantive law. 'Computer law' has developed since the Seventies from a patchwork of applications of ordinary rules of contract, criminal, and commercial law, to what is largely accepted to be a rapidly growing specialist cognate discipline. It has now expanded to embrace the "new" field of żcyberlawż that focuses on the legal regulation of the Internet.
This course will examine the legal ramifications of cyberspace and the digitisation and virtualisation of everyday activities, including topics such as regulation by law and code, intellectual property in cyberspace, illegal file sharing, content liability, cybercrime, online privacy and cloud computing.
Themes relevant throughout the course will be discussed such as globalisation, enforcement, regulatory forms (including self-regulation and soft law) and the competing lobbies for consumers, corporations, regulators, rights-holders and cyber-libertarians.
A further focus will be the extent and need for interaction between themes and legal fields.
Sources will be drawn from the legal systems of Scotland, England, the UK, the US and the EU, and students will be encouraged to contribute information and experiences from their home jurisdictions.
- Forensic Computing and Electronic Evidence (20 credits)
The purpose of the "Forensic Computing and Electronic Evidence" course is to provide an introduction to the practical aspects of forensic computing investigations, and to offer a legal overview of legislation and the main legal issues related to cyber-crime and computer forensics.
- International and European Media Law (20 credits)
This course will examine the impact of International and European law on, firstly, the structure of media markets and, secondly, the content of media services. The course will start with a discussion of the nature of the media, the media 'value chain', and the relationship between media freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights. It will examine the various international organisations competent in the media field and the regulatory strategies that are being adopted to deal with media convergence and globalisation. In relation to structural matters, consideration will be given to consolidation of media ownership and state funding of the media, in particular public service broadcasting. In relation to content controls, the course will examine attempts to create a more equitable flow of media content and concerns over 'media imperialism', the regulatory problems posed by pornography and hate speech and the balance to be struck between freedom of the media and privacy.
Students will attain a good understanding of the interplay between domestic and international law in this field, as well as the role of soft law and self or private regulation. They will be encouraged to think about the future role of law and regulation in a rapidly changing media environment.
- Law of Robotics (20 credits)
The course introduces students to the legal and wider regulatory issues raised by the increasing use of automated and autonomous devices in all fields of life. As we increasingly allow machines to make decisions for us, this raises significant problems for our legal concepts of liability, responsibility and legal personhood. Since robots rely on sensors to perform their tasks, they also raise issues of data protection and privacy.
The course discusses amongst other applications the regulatory issues of care/companion robots in a medical setting, self-driving cars and the automated city; and military applications such as drones. The course covers both embodied artificial intelligent systems ("robots") and non-embodied devices ("autonomous agents"). Legal ramifications of these technologies are studied also with a view on their political, economic and ethical implications. To address the legal issues raised by robot mobility, special attention will be given to efforts to create an international legal regime or at least to harmonise existing national approaches. In this context, students will be particularly encouraged to contribute their experience with their home jurisdiction to the debate.
In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the specific legal issues that are created by a number of particularly important applications of robotics and autonomous agent technology, students will also acquire a generic understanding of the types of problems that are raised by autonomous technologies for the theory of regulation. They will gain an understanding of the limits of regulation by law and the ability to evaluate comparatively other modes of regulation for a given problem.
- Information: Control and Power (20 credits) - this course will not be offered in the 2019/20 academic year.
This course will investigate, through a range of legal disciplines and perspectives, the growing focus placed on, and value attached to, information by society, governments, businesses and individuals; concerns as to its control and misuse; and the impact of this on all stakeholder, particularly in the light of the opportunities and challenges of evolving - and converging - technologies.
The course will consider legal regimes relating to:
- privacy, freedom of information and data protection;
- the extent to which present regulatory, co-regulatory and self-regulatory systems conform to expectations in respect of information privacy and access to information;
- the extent to which basic data, information and content is or should be protected by intellectual property or other information rights, particularly in the light of new means of creating, obtaining, recording, sharing and exploiting that information;
- human rights law and policy, with particular reference to (online) privacy;
- electronic surveillance, access to information and the conflict between freedom of expression and reputation and image rights.
You can choose to study between 0 and 40 credits from the following courses:
- European Competition and Innovation (20 credits)
- International Intellectual Property System (20 credits) - this course will not be offered in the 2019/20 academic year.
- Intellectual Property Law - Industrial Property (20 credits)
- Principles of International Taxation (20 credits) - this course will not be offered in the 2019/20 academic year.
- Legal Aspects of Managing Intellectual Property (20 credits)
- Intellectual Property Law: Copyright and Related Rights (20 credits)
- Law of Climate Change (20 credits)
- Governance of Innovative Medicine (20 credits)
- Fundamentals in Bioethics (20 credits)
- Withdrawal from the EU and the Law (Brexit) (20 credits)
- EU Law (20 credits)
- European Health Law and Policy (20 credits)
- Shaping Modern Healthcare (10 credits)
- Regulating Health and Social Care Professionals (10 credits)
Please note that Shaping Modern Healthcare and Regulating Health and Social Care Professionals are co-requisite and must both be taken in the semester that they run.
You may study 0 and 20 credits from the following courses:
- Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society (20 credits)
- Law and Ethics at the Start and End of Life (20 credits)
- Contract Law in Europe (20 credits)
- Corporate Compliance: Case Studies in Law & Ethics (20 credits)
- Comparative & International Corporate Governance (20 credits)
- International Oil & Gas Law (20 credits)
- International Law, Human Rights & Corporate Accountability (20 credits)
- Dispute Resolution Methods (20 credits)
- The Fundamentals of Law and Medical Ethics (20 credits)
- Global Health: Law and Policy (20 credits)
- Intellectual Property and Human Rights (20 credits) - this course will not be offered in the 2019/20 academic year.
- International Commercial Arbitration (20 credits)
Please note that a course from this group can only be taken with the approval of your Programme Director.
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 options available in the programme.
Your dissertation title will be agreed with your supervisor during your final semester of taught study. Dissertation topics must fall within the scope of your programme and will relate to specific courses that you have taken at Edinburgh. Supervision continues throughout the research and writing of the dissertation.
Your dissertation must demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the relevant literature and an ability to engage in critical analysis. More credit will be given for 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.
Courses are offered once in an academic year. Each semester you will choose the course(s) you wish to study in that particular semester. Courses are then allocated. Details of the courses available will be provided in advance. Courses are then allocated.
The allocation process is intended to support student choices as much as possible, while taking account of optimum class sizes for specific courses.
Class sizes have typically ranged from 15 to 25 students in the past. If more students request a course than can be allocated, students who need to take the course in order to fulfil core programme requirements will have priority and others may be asked to defer that course choice to a later year of study.
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.
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.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
Staff teaching on the core courses for the LLM in Information Technology Law for 2019/20 are experts in their field and are actively involved in cutting-edge research in various legal fields including media law, regulation of new technologies and IT law.
Dr Lachlan Urquhart - Programme Director 2019/20
Lachlan is a Lecturer in Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh. He is also a visiting researcher at the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, where he was a Research Fellow in Information Technology Law from 2016-2018.
Lachlan's primarily works at the boundaries of computer science (human-computer interaction), information technology law (mainly privacy and information security), and computer ethics. He focusses extensively on the technical, socio-legal, sociological, and ethical implications of living with interactive computing (e.g. Ubicomp/Internet of Things, robotics, smart homes & cities, social media etc.).
Burkhard is Professor of Computational Legal Theory and Director of the SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP law. His main field of interest is the interaction between law, science and computer technology, especially computer linguistics. How can law, understood as a system, communicate with systems external to it, be it the law of other countries (comparative law and its methodology) or science (evidence, proof and trial process). He is currently working mainly on issues such as privacy compliant software architecture and more generally the scope and limits of representing legal concepts directly in the internet infrastructure.
Rachael Craufurd Smith is a Reader in EC Law specialising in media, the regulation of culture and European Union law. In 2003/4 she was a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence. She is a qualified solicitor and has worked both in the International and Policy and Planning Departments of the BBC, focusing on the impact of European Community Law on the public broadcasting sector. Rachael also worked as a trainee in the Internal Market DG of the European Commission and was a Fellow for a number of years at Trinity, Corpus Christi and St. John's Colleges and a University Lecturer at the University of Oxford.
Paolo Cavaliere joined the Law School from September 2014 as a lecturer in Digital Media and IT Law. Prior to joining the School, Paolo has been a researcher at the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policies of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies of the University of Oxford where he has also helped to coordinate the Monroe Price Media Law Moot Court Competition. His main interests in research include the discipline of pluralism and diversity in the media, e-democracy and the relationship between new media and politics, regulation of audiovisual industries and digital media. He has written about different aspects of Media law, including “mediacracy” and the democratic deficit of the EU; media pluralism in the European sphere; digital technologies and the political debate in the public sphere.
Judith Rauhofer is a Lecturer in IT Law and an Associate Director of the Centre for Studies of Intellectual Property and Technology Law (SCRIPT). Her research interests include the commercial and fundamental rights aspects of online privacy and electronic surveillance, data protection, information security and all areas of e-commerce and internet law and policy. Judith is particularly interested in exploring the tensions between privacy as an individual right and as a common good.
The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2020/21. Staff listed as on sabbatical will not be available to teach for the duration of their sabbatical.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
Find out what it's like to study for an LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning from our current and former students.
David Foster talks about his experience of studying for an LLM in Information Technology Law by online distance learning at Edinburgh Law School, the University of Edinburgh.
The LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning has start dates in September and January of each academic year. We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test.Apply now
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: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module).
- TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module).
- PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the Communicative Skills sections).
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module).
- Trinity ISE: ISE III (with a pass in all four components).
Your English language certificate must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.
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.
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.
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.
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.
January 2020 entry
The deadline for applications for entry in January 2020 was 4:00pm (UK time) on 12 November 2019.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for January 2020, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 26 November 2019.
September 2020 entry
The deadline for applications for entry in September 2020 is 4:00pm (UK time) on 9 July 2020
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for September 2020, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 31 July.
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). Where academic paperwork is not in English, certified translations must be provided (these must have been produced by a certified translator);
Find out more about certified translations
- Details of professional qualifications and any appropriate professional registrations.
- 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. We may accept a non-academic reference from applicants who have been out of higher education for five years or more.
- Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.
- Personal statement - you will be asked to complete a personal statement (maximum 3500 characters - approximately 500 words) as part of your application.
- Relevant knowledge / skills - this may include details of any skills or voluntary work that you have undertaken that you feel are pertinent to the programme (maximum 3500 characters - approximately 500 words).
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.
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
You can find full and detailed application guidance on the University's website.
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.
Applicants receiving an unconditional offer of admission to the LLM in Information Technology Law will be asked to pay a deposit of £1000 to secure their place on the programme
The deposit fee will be deducted from the first tuition fee instalment you have to pay and so enables you to spread the financial cost of the LLM.
January 2020 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 29 November 2019, whichever is sooner.
September 2020 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 7 August 2020, whichever is sooner.