LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice
The LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice by online learning aims to provide you with an advanced knowledge and understanding of the international context in which business currently operates.
The programme focuses on legal responses to the developments shaping international commerce today, as lawyers and business professionals are increasingly required to look beyond domestic law to find solutions appropriate to their international business needs and opportunities.
The programme offers an approach to learning and teaching based on academic rigour in legal education, balanced with a focus on professional practice as both the context and the medium for learning about international commercial law. As a student on the programme, you will become familiar with the complex framework of international legal instruments that apply within international commerce, including international conventions and regulatory instruments, and also relevant ‘soft law’. In addition, you will explore and critically analyse those standards, statements of best practice and guidelines of significance to the operation of international commerce in specific industry sectors.
The LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice offers several core modules which cover the regulatory and policy-based aspects of international commercial law and also modules which are focused on particular industry sectors such as oil and gas law and the law relating to the commodities markets.
You will choose from core modules in the areas of:
- arbitration and dispute resolution
- corporate governance and compliance
- international tax law
- energy law and climate law
- contract law.
You can also choose two modules from our range of optional modules. This allows you to tailor your programme and engage with a range of subject areas within the fields of intellectual property, information technology, innovation and medical law.
Globalisation and developments in technology have led to a marked increase in international trade in goods and services, in international investment, and in the development of global financial markets. In parallel, the world of international commerce has seen major growth in the regulation of commercial activity at a national and international level, and in international litigation and arbitration.
The LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice will equip lawyers and business professionals with a deeper understanding of how international commercial law operates in practice today.
The programme is therefore designed for you if you are:
- a lawyer who wants to internationalise your practice, or deepen your knowledge in a specialist area;
- an in-house lawyer with an interest in expanding your legal knowledge and industry focus;
- a business professional working for (or intending to work for) international commercial organisations, who needs to operate in heavily regulated industries, such as oil or shipping;
- a compliance officer, or a legal or commercial manager, who must constantly update your legal awareness.
International commerce requires people to make difficult decisions every day, with legally binding consequences. These actions cannot be taken without regard to the legal context. The LLM programme in International Commercial Law and Practice will complement existing experience and skills, and enable you to react to issues and events decisively and knowledgeably.
Edinburgh Law School has a centuries-long tradition in private law, and much of our research in private law and contract law has a comparative and/or international focus. The School also has great strength in international law.
Teaching on the programme therefore draws on significant expertise in private law and in international law - exploring how countries interact together under international treaties, and analysing how commerce is regulated around the world.
The programme will also give you exposure to guest tutors and experts outside academia: practitioners involved in leading cases, negotiating deals, and working with major clients. This will illustrate some of the theory you will learn, giving you insight into, for example, on-going litigation in courts, or the status of contract negotiations between governments.
If you have any questions about the LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
The LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice by online learning gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of courses covering regulatory and policy-based aspects of international commercial law and also particular industry sectors such as oil and gas 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 Regulations and Programmes of Study website.
Courses shown below are scheduled to run in the 2020/21 academic year. Please note that these may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19.
You must study between 80 and 120 credits from the following courses:
- Corporate Compliance: Case Studies in Law & Ethics (20 credits)
This course will examine the legal, ethical, and social compliance issues that arise in an international business setting. Each week will consider regulations from different countries, international standards, and guidance documents that address issues from bribery to working conditions in factories. Case study analysis will be used to not only identify non-compliant practices, the consequences of violations, and the lack of leadership accountability, but also to highlight successful codes of conduct, transparent compliance programs, and ethical corporate cultures. This course focuses on real-world legal issues, legal accountability, and the interconnections between multi-national corporations and governments around the world.
- Law of Climate Change (20 credits)
This course explores the law concerning climate change with particular focus on its sources, principles and processes. It critically questions the role of law in enabling humanity's responses to such a unique global challenge.
This is an area of regulation that has developed most influentially in the realm of public international law in the form of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its 1997 Kyoto Protocol, as well as the 2015 Paris Agreement. More than twenty years since the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992, the international legal regime of climate change has branched off into numerous issue areas and related processes for the implementation of climate change mitigation (reducing greenhouse gasses emissions) and adaptation measures.
At the same time, this 'international climate change regime' interacts with other issues areas of public international law (e.g. human rights and international trade regulation), as well as with regional (primarily under European Union law), national and sub-national regimes.
Throughout the module, you will critically debate the rationales for past and current regulatory approaches under the international climate change regime. You will also learn how the interactions with other regimes can favour or hamper progress in climate change action from states and other actors, including individuals.
Law of Climate Change takes an inter-disciplinary approach, drawing on insights from economics, ethics, international relations theory and the physical sciences. A feature of this course is its close relationship to fundamental research that is undertaken across the University.
- Comparative and International Corporate Governance (20 credits)
The course focuses on the theory, law and practice of the governance of corporations across different jurisdictions. Corporate governance regulates the relationships between various corporate constituencies (directors, officers, majority and minority shareholders, employees, creditors) with a view to establishing an adequate system of controls that prevents any single corporate constituency from acquiring overriding power or influence. Because legal systems rank social priorities differently, several models of corporate governance have emerged worldwide. Corporate governance has become a key topic for legislators, practitioners, and academics in all modern industrial states. It has been increasingly recognised as an important element of sustainable development. Consequently, comparative knowledge and understanding of corporate governance are essential tools for business lawyers and policy makers, especially after the recent financial crisis which highlighted some shortcomings of the corporate governance systems.
- Dispute Resolution Methods (20 credits)
This course will offer a unique and practical introduction to dispute resolution methods and will equip students with both theoretical and practical understandings of a topic of growing domestic and international significance.
In an increasingly globalised world resorting to courts is not always experienced as a fast and effective way of resolving disputes. The parties may wish to maintain a good working relationship over many years to come, or they may simply not want to commit to a potentially costly, time and resource intensive litigation process with an uncertain outcome. Even more so, if their counter party is based abroad, the questions of international jurisdiction and enforcement arise and add another layer of difficulty. Alternatively they may be interested in long term projects to preserve cash-flow by finding a fast resolution, even if interim.
In response to the need for cost-efficient, timely and appropriate dispute resolution, several methods have been developed taking proceedings outside the usual setting of the courtroom. Parties and their advisers ought to be aware of the array of dispute resolution mechanisms, their potential application and features in order to be able to select the tool best suited to their needs. Certain industries, such as the construction industry, use tools, specifically developed to cater for the particularities and needs of the industry. Online dispute resolution has been developed both for the unique online setting but also to aid a speedy and cheap resolution of off-line disputes.
This course offers an introduction to a range of dispute resolution mechanisms, their potential application and features and their domestic and international legal framework.
- International Law, Human Rights and Corporate Accountability (20 credits)
This course will examine the history of human rights beginning with a discussion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 through to contemporary issues generated by globalization.
In addition to analysing International Human Rights Law and the rights and duties of multinational corporations and state actors regarding human rights, the course will consider the contributions of institutions, NGOs and the international human rights movement.
Throughout the weeks we will evaluate aspects of accountability, enforcement and legal liability. Case study analysis will be used to examine human rights abuses, litigation, the role of states to protect human rights and the culpability of corporate actions. We will discuss the controversial issues surrounding corporations as subjects of international law while considering trends for future remedies including the concept of legally binding requirements.
- International Commercial Arbitration (20 credits)
This course will offer a unique and practical introduction to international commercial arbitration and will equip students with both theoretical and practical understandings of a topic of growing international significance.
In response to the need for cost-efficient, timely and appropriate dispute resolution, several methods have been developed taking proceedings outside the usual setting of the courtroom. Perhaps the most popular and successful of these (in the field of international trade) is international commercial arbitration.
The law and practice of international commercial arbitration seeks to find solutions which fit the needs of international business. The aim is to provide a neutral process acceptable to both parties to a transaction, one which minimises the risks of forum shopping and avoids the problems of conflicts over legal forum and applicable law, one which is commercial and sensitive to commercial needs.
International commercial arbitration is a creature of agreement and cannot operate without the consent of the parties. Nonetheless the system cannot operate without legal regulation and a considerable body of law has developed as the process becomes more popular.
The law in question deals with issues such as how national legal systems regulate arbitration, give effect to arbitration agreements and enforce the decisions of arbitrators. Additionally there is a considerable amount of 'soft' law, dealing with matters of how the process should operate and best practice for parties, counsel and arbitrators.
The course will focus on this body of law and how it operates in practical situations. The course will focus largely on international law and practice, with domestic and national solutions used mainly as examples of a developing international practice.
The following courses will not be offered in the 2020/21 academic year:
- Contract Law in Europe (20 credits)
This course is a comparative contract law course. Contract law is part of each country's national law. The main focus of the course 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).
One of the themes of the course is whether there is, indeed, a split between the common law and the civil law tradition in the field of contract law within European countries. Is there, in fact, a gulf between the two traditions? Are harmonising initiatives likely to succeed? The debate on these issues will be informed by the analysis of the national legal systems which form the focus of this course.
- European Competition and Innovation (20 credits)
This course examines the principal issues arising from the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU to practices aimed at furthering innovation and investment. It will include a consideration of the following topics:
- Article 101 TFEU: current approaches to prima facie anti-competitive agreements in general; legal implications of joint venture arrangements and the application of Article 101(3) to individual cases; the current Block Exemption on Technology Transfer Agreements.
- Article 102 TFEU: current approaches to abuses of dominant position generally the 2009 Enforcement Priorities document; abuse of dominance in innovative industries; the problem of network effects; issues arising from the application of Article 102 to industry leaders' refusals to deal and to license.
- International Oil and Gas Law (20 credits)
The course will begin with an overview of the industry and the key economic and political actors, and provide an introduction to the role of oil and gas in international relations and to the economics of the industry. The course will also provide an introduction to the principles of public and private international law relevant to the industry, and how these operate in practice with reference to industry-specific contracts, agreements and instruments.
There will be a detailed analysis of 'upstream' issues and the legal issues surrounding exploration, including a comparative analysis of the different legal regimes surrounding exploration rights and specific problems with exploration, such as joint exploration and exploration in disputed territory.
The course will analyse the various commercial arrangements in the industry such as Joint Ventures (with an emphasis on Joint Operating Agreements) and will also look at arrangements regarding infrastructure. The course will also cover 'downstream' issues such as the trading and transportation of oil and gas, with reference to industry specific contracts. Finally, the course will analyse the particular issues concerning the States as actors in the oil and gas industry including stabilisation clauses, state immunity and international dispute settlement.
Through the use of primary sources, secondary literature and case studies, the course aims to promote a deeper understanding of the operation of the international oil and gas industry, of the legal issues facing the industry and the various solutions. The course also aims to develop students' understanding of the operation of international commercial law in a practical context. The course aims to assist students in taking a critical and comparative approach to the relevant legal issues and to view these in their economic and political context.
- Principles of International Taxation (20 credits)
The aim of the course is to allow participants to become familiar with all rules concerning the distribution of taxing rights between countries, and the consequent problems in terms of tax competition, tax avoidance and the balance between the protection of revenue interests of states and the taxpayers rights.
CIArb Recognised Course Provider status
Edinburgh Law School is a Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Recognised Course Provider. Students who successfully complete the Dispute Resolution Methods course, with a minimum overall mark of 55%, will be exempted from the CIArb Introduction course and can apply for Associate Membership of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
The award of CIArb Recognised Course Provider status is for a period of three years from June 2018 - June 2021.
You can choose between 0 and 40 credits of the following courses:
- EU Data Protection Law (20 credits)
- Communications Law (20 credits)
- Regulation of Autonomous Systems: the Law of Robotics (20 credits)
- Intellectual Property Law - Copyright and Related Rights (20 credits)
- Fundamentals in Bioethics (20 credits)
- Shaping Modern Healthcare (10 credits)
- Regulating Health and Social Care Professionals (10 credits)
- Legal Aspects of Managing Intellectual Property (20 credits)
- Governance of Innovative Medicine (20 credits)
- Forensic Computing and Electronic Evidence (20 credits)
- International and European Law of the Media (20 credits)
- International Intellectual Property System (20 credits)
- EU Law (20 credits)
- Withdrawal from the EU and the Law (Brexit) (20 credits) - this course will not be offered in the 2020/21 academic year.
- European Health Law and Policy (20 credits) - this course will not be offered in the 2020/21 academic year.
Please note that courses 'Shaping Modern Healthcare' and 'Regulating Health and Social Care Professionals' are co-requisites and must both be taken in the semester in which they run.
You can choose between 0 and 20 credits of the following courses:
- Electronic Commerce Law
- Information Technology Law
- Global Health: Law and Policy
- The Fundamentals of Law and Medical Ethics
- Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society
- Law and Ethics at the Start and End of Life
- Intellectual Property and Human Rights
- Information: Control and Power
- Intellectual Property Law: Industrial Property - this course will not be offered in the 2020/21 academic year.
A course from this collection 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 International Commercial Law and Practice by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
Staff teaching on the core courses of the LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice in 2020/21 are experts in their field and are actively involved in cutting-edge research in various areas of commercial law. Academic staff teaching courses offered on this programme will include:
Parker Hood is a lecturer in Commercial Law, whose research interests include banking law, company law, the law of obligations and general commercial law. He is the author of a monograph on bank liability, Principles of Lender Liability (Oxford University Press), which was published in October 2012.
Remus joined Edinburgh Law School in May 2011. He studied law at McGill University, Montreal (Doctor of Civil Law), University of Alberta, Edmonton (Master of Laws) and Nicolae Titulescu University, Bucharest (Bachelor of Civil Law). Before joining academia, he worked as a corporate and commercial lawyer with a major Romanian law firm. His main research interests lie in the fields of fiduciary law, comparative corporate law and governance, law and economics, and trust law.
Simone Lamont-Black (née Schnitzer) qualified as civil lawyer in Germany where she practised law as Rechtsanwältin for several years. She specialises and researches in the (private) law of international trade and carriage of goods and has a keen interest in international commercial dispute resolution. She also established the Edinburgh Willem Vis Moot Team and Moot Module and the annual Edinburgh Willem Vis Pre-Moot.
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.
Arianna Andreangeli's research interests lie in the area of EU and domestic competition law, both substantive and procedural. She is especially interested in exploring how the competition rules can be effectively applied so as to safeguard genuine rivalry in the market while safeguarding the concerned actors' economic freedom and incentive to innovate and invest.
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 International Commercial Law and Practice by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
Find out what it's like to study for an LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice by online learning from our current and former students.
Luisa Fernanda Mantilla talks about her experience of studying for an LLM degree by online distance learning at Edinburgh Law School, the University of Edinburgh.
Muhammad-Ali Khaled El-Mir talks about his experience of studying for an LLM degree by online distance learning and offers some advice to those considering studying for an LLM degree at Edinburgh Law School, the University of Edinburgh.
If you have any questions about the LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice please don't hesitate to contact us.
The LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice 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.
For 2020/21 entry we accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified.
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 (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module).
English requirements must be met in a single test. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module).
- Trinity ISE: ISE III (with a pass in all four components).
- PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the Communicative Skills sections).
Please note that PTE Academic will no longer be accepted for entry to the University for any degree starting after 30 September 2020.
For 2021/22 entry we accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified.
Students whose first language is not English must show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:
- IELTS: 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
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 2021 entry
The deadline for applications for entry in January 2021 is 4:00pm (UK time) on 12 November 2020.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for January 2021, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 24 November.
2021/22 application deadlines
September 2021 entry
The deadline for applications for entry in September 2021 is 4:00pm (UK time) on 8 July 2021.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for September 2021, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 30 July 2021.
January 2022 entry
The deadline for applications for entry in January 2022 is 4:00pm (UK time) on 11 November 2021.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for January 2022, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 24 November 2021.
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).
Your personal statement should show that you have thought carefully about why you are interested in this programme of study; what you can bring to the programme and what impact you feel it will have on your future career. Therefore, please ensure that you address the following questions in your statement:
- What are your motivations for wanting to study this programme?
- What skills, qualities and experiences have prepared you to undertake this programme?
- What value do you think you can add to the learning community as part of an internationally diverse group?
- What impact do you hope to make in your future career, and how will this programme contribute to your aspirations?
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
You can find full and detailed application guidance on the University's website.
Applicants receiving an unconditional offer of admission 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 2021 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 30 November 2020, whichever is sooner.
September 2021 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 5 August 2021, whichever is sooner.
January 2022 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 30 November 2021, whichever is sooner.
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.