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.
Edinburgh Law School gives me strength, hope and courage to prepare myself thoroughly for the challenging times ahead.
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 courses which cover the regulatory and policy-based aspects of international commercial law and also courses 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 courses in the areas of:
- arbitration and dispute resolution
- corporate governance and compliance
- banking law
- contract law.
You can also choose two courses from our range of optional courses. This allows you to tailor your programme and engage with a range of subject areas within the fields of 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.
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 2023/24 academic year.
You must study between 80 and 120 credits from the following courses:
Banking and Financial Law: Case Studies (20 credits)
This course will examine banking and financial law and regulation since the 2008 financial crisis. Each week legal and ethical issues will be discussed, focusing on both macro-prudential and micro-prudential policies. Regulations and cases will be considered to help develop a fuller understanding of the regulatory environment since 2008 and to analyse non-compliant behaviour as well as best practices.
The course will focus on the regulatory regimes in the UK, EU, and the US as well as international initiatives for reform. Topic areas to be covered will include regulatory and policy developments over the last decade, money laundering, terrorist financing, insider trading, financial market manipulation, bank mergers and acquisitions, and FinTech.
This course will give students a broad practical understanding of the purpose, requirements, and application of banking laws and policies. The case studies will provide a real-world view of the benefits and challenges of compliance and enforcement.
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.
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.
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.
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 Alternative Dispute Resolution and can apply for Associate Membership of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (ACIArb).
The award of CIArb Recognised Course Provider status is for a period of three years from September 2021 to September 2024.
Visit the CIArb website
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 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 globalisation.
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.
You can choose between 0 and 40 credits of the following courses:
- EU Data Protection Law (20 credits)
- Fundamentals in Bioethics (20 credits)
- International and European Law of the Media (20 credits)
- Mental Health Law (20 credits)
- Regulation of Autonomous Systems: the Law of Robotics (20 credits)
You can choose between 0 and 20 credits of the following courses:
- The Fundamentals of Law and Medical Ethics (20 credits)
- Information: Control and Power (20 credits)
- Information Technology Law (20 credits)
- Electronic Commerce Law (20 credits)
- Law and Ethics at the Start and End of Life (20 credits)
- Public Health Ethics (20 credits)
- Ethics of Health Technologies (20 credits)
- Clinical Negligence and the Law (10 credits)
- Shaping and Regulating Modern Healthcare (10 credits)
- Confidentiality and Data Protection in Biomedicine (20 credits)
- Introduction to Intellectual Property Law (20 credits)
A course from this collection can only be taken with the approval of your Programme Director.
Please note that courses 'Clinical Negligence and the Law' and 'Shaping and Regulating Modern Healthcare' are co-requisites and must both be taken in the semester in which they run.
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 2022-23 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:
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.
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.
Remus will be on sabbatical in semester 1 of the 2022-23 academic year.
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.
Simone will be on sabbatical in semester 1 of the 2022-23 academic year.
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.
Burkhard will be on sabbatical in semester 1 of the 2023-24 academic year.
Jonny was a solicitor in private practice for 10 years before starting at the Law School. Jonny’s research is conducted across a broad range of commercial law (particularly rights in security) and company law (particularly the law of private companies). Most of Jonny’s research has a law and economics methodology, which he has applied to a broad range of different subject matters.
Jonny will be on sabbatical in semester 1 of the 2023-24 academic year.
Prior to joining Edinburgh Law School, Anna worked at Newnham College, Cambridge. Anna studied at the University of Aberdeen (LLB), Harvard Law School (LLM), Balliol College, Oxford (BCL), Stanford Graduate School of Business (MBA) and Trinity College, Cambridge (PhD). She is triple qualified as a lawyer in New York, England & Wales and Scotland, practised corporate and energy law at top UK and US law firms and worked in a senior management role at a FTSE 100 company.
Anna has broad research interests in comparative corporate governance and law and finance. Her current scholarship focuses on sustainable corporate governance, ESG investing and shareholder activism. Her work is interdisciplinary, combining legal scholarship with economic and financial analysis.
The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2024-25 academic year. 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.
Keti studied the online LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice, graduating in 2022.
"Stepping into the University of Edinburgh 2 years ago, when I was full of expectations, my friends with Edinburgh study experience warned me that studying at Edinburgh was extremely hard. Still, they forgot to mention the pleasure from studies at Edinburgh: The curriculum is extremely interesting and engaging, even for a lawyer in practice for almost ten years.
The learning environment fully accommodated and tailored to students, including ready-made study materials, while the student only needs time to dive in. The platforms for sharing opinions with the students and lecturers create a friendly and collaborative atmosphere.
It was a tough but fascinating two years, and as a graduate of the University of Edinburgh School of Law, LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice, I have never been as confident in my knowledge as I am now, which is the most valuable thing I have ever achieved. In childhood, we were taught that knowledge is power, which I would translate as knowledge gives wings to fly, and the University of Edinburgh School of Law is the University that creates for you the opportunity to fly."
Kimberley, a practicing attorney and compliance practitioner, studied the LLM in International Commercial Law and Practice by online learning at Edinburgh Law School, the University of Edinburgh. In this video Kimberley talks about her experience and the professional and personal benefits of studying for an LLM online at Edinburgh Law School.
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
We require a minimum UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent. Your degree does not have to be in the subject of law, but it must be from a recognised higher education institution. We will also consider your other qualifications and professional experience as part of your application.
Entry to this programme is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.
You can check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.
Students from China
This degree is Band A.
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.
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- 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.
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.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate 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.
2023-24 application deadlines
January 2024 entry
Applications for January 2024 entry have now closed.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for January 2024, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 27 November 2023.
2024-25 application deadlines
September 2024 entry
Applications for September 2024 will close on the 30 June. Applications for September 2025 will open in October 2024.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for September 2024, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 31 July 2024.
January 2025 entry
The deadline for applications for entry in January 2025 is 03 November 2024.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for January 2025, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 27 November 2024.
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 2023 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 01 December 2022, whichever is sooner.
September 2023 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 07 August 2023, whichever is sooner.
January 2024 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 01 December 2023, 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.