International Commercial Law LLM

Postgraduate ( full-time)


January 2019, September 2018

Course duration: 12 months full-time (September starts), 16 months full-time (January starts).


Master the theory and practice of international commercial law. Further your knowledge of the principles of international contracts relating to commercial activities, and develop advanced analytic and research skills for work in international legal practice or other high-level international careers.

Full description


Transferable skills

Our LLM will help you develop professional skills including logical reasoning, critical analysis, research and independent judgement, along with an understanding of the complex interplay between infrastructure, content, competition, social policy, punishment and trade in the international arena, and a greater capacity for legal communication.

These skills will prepare you for international practice and academic research at the highest level, but are also transferable to a range of other intellectually demanding roles, such as legal departments of international corporations, government departments and other international agencies.

Employability events and opportunities

Volunteer for our Law Clinic and practise your legal skills in a real-life setting. Work alongside local solicitors, providing pro bono advice to people who have limited access to legal resources.

Join our mentoring scheme: partner with a professional from a regional law firm to get first-hand advice and guidance.

Our employability service also organise many focused events, such as careers fairs specifically for law students.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Commercial Contracts
    On this module you will study the law governing commercial contracts in their business context, including aspects of contract law, personal property law (and the role of equity), and commercial law. You will analyse basic economics of markets (although no previous knowledge of economics will be needed) and develop your critical understanding of key theoretical concepts through their application in practical scenarios. You will also use comparative law method to look at transnational law, establishing and critically evaluating the differences in rules that govern commercial contracts in English law, other national laws and international instruments. In particular, you will examine how commercial contracts differ from non-commercial contracts; the formation and interpretation of commercial contracts; and pre-contractual duties, agreed obligations and remedies. You will explore this through two important types of contract in international commercial practice: a contract of sale and assignment of receivables (assignment of obligations, assignment of contracts), although the former will be treated as the paradigm of a commercial contract.
  • Law in the Global Context
    This module will help you transition from Undergraduate to Masters level study by brushing up on the skills you need as a postgraduate student (effective use of electronic databases, academic writing and referencing) and providing an analytical framework for international trade law that transcends particular jurisdictions to focus on the context in which international business takes place. You’ll examine the need for regulation or international trade and the development of legal frameworks, including organisations like the WTO and the EU, and be expected to demonstrate a systematic and critical awareness of the interrelation of law and business in a global context, as well as advanced scholarship in international trade and business. You’ll be assessed through a group presentation, in which you’ll individually present findings resulting from your personal research. This presentation will be accompanied by a written assignment that will include referencing correctly presented using OSCOLA.
  • Legal Research Methods
    This module will give you a critical understanding of research skills, methods and methodology, including surveys, questionnaires, statistical analysis, and interviews, in addition to bibliographical research methods in law. It will also provide you with an understanding of web learning and the ability to access materials both through the University library and from other sources. Most importantly, you will learn to critically examine alternative research methods and evaluate their effectiveness in the study of International Business Law. Further still, you will have the chance to discuss learning and teaching styles, academic expectations and learning strategies. You will be taught through seminars, library sessions and E-learning, giving you a grounding in the various possible research methods. Your assessment will comprise both a presentation and coursework.
  • International Commercial Arbitration
    On this module you will engage in an examination and critical reflection of the choices businesses must make about the available methods of resolving commercial disputes in a globalised world. You will examine methods of alternative dispute resolution together with substantive and procedural aspects of business litigation in the worldwide context. You will also examine the availability and desirability of forum selection as well as the practical and procedural differences between litigation processes within a range of selected forums, allowing you to critically analyse: different approaches to funding commercial litigation; practical considerations relating to choice of forum; the availability and effectiveness of selected interim remedies (such as worldwide freezing injunctions); and the practical difficulties of reciprocal enforcement of judgements throughout the world. You will combine theory and practical application relevant to international legal practice and business and, together with other students, engage in role-play within alternative dispute resolution scenarios, developing and enhancing your teamwork, negotiation and strategic-thinking employability skills. Your assessment will comprise a piece of individual written work (3,000 words) on a dispute resolution topic.
  • Transnational Commercial Law
    As international commerce has developed, more international efforts have increasingly been made towards harmonising the law relating to international commerce. This is done in the belief that harmonisation is more beneficial than reliance on a single national law. Consequently, a number of different types of international instruments have developed, comprising conventions, model laws, legislative guides, codifications of trade usages and practices and restatements of law governing different aspects of international commercial law and practice. This module will develop your understanding of what drives international commercial law and the reasons for harmonisation. You will examine institutions involved in the harmonisation process, as well as the scope of the harmonisation processes and the major problems and policy issues that must be confronted. You will critically evaluate the success of key international instruments, which you may already have studied in other modules (for example the Vienna Sales Convention), and examine them from a perspective of the need, purpose and success or failure of harmonisation of international commercial law. Your assessment will consist of a 6,000-word essay.
  • Major Research Project (LLMs)
    This module will support you in the preparation and submission of the Master's stage project for the LLM International Business Law, LLM International Commercial Law and LLM Digital Economy. You will be assessed through a maximum 15,000-word final thesis.

Optional modules

  • Corporate Governance
    This module will introduce you to the political, economic, cultural, social and legal mechanisms that govern the activities of corporations. You will engage in an examination and critical evaluation of corporate governance in a global context, examining its underpinning theories as well as the development and regulation of international governance. Contrasting these with recent business scandals and the different intercultural responses to them, you will also consider the nature, scope and effect of corporate social responsibilities, including environmental. You will learn to resolve ethical problems in the context of governance theory and apply theory to problem-based scenarios, considering the appropriateness of these theories in a business context, as well as undertaking a comparative analysis of approaches being adopted in a number of jurisdictions and reflecting the main schools of thought on corporate governance. Your assessment will comprise written coursework (4,800 words) and a group presentation.
  • Comparative Company Law
    This module will give you an integrated view of the role and structure of corporate law, which provides a clear framework for individual systems both on their own and in relation to each other. You will be introduced to the theory of corporate law, focusing on the main 'players' in the corporate arena (such as the directors, shareholders, creditors and employees) and how company law can best accommodate their sometimes conflicting interests. You will also discover the main arguments for and against state intervention in what are primarily private transactions. Focusing on the theoretical aspects of corporate law, you will consider the problems and legal strategies common to each of the identified jurisdictions, particularly the five basic characteristics of business corporations: legal personality; limited liability; corporate governance/shareholder protection; management of companies; investor ownership. Your assessment will comprise an individual presentation plus written coursework.


You’ll show your progress through a combination of assessments, such as coursework in which you’ll develop a critical view on a current issue in the area you're studying, and presentations.

All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

Whether you aim to work in the creative industries or the social sciences, the legal profession or public service, the Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need for professional life.

Our lively, diverse community and ambitious academic environment will broaden your horizons and help you develop your full potential - many of our courses give you the chance to learn another language, study abroad or undertake work placements as you study.

If you’re interested in art, music, drama or film, check out our packed programme of events. Together with our partners in the creative and cultural industries, we’re always working to enrich the cultural life of the university and the wider community.

Our research is groundbreaking and internationally recognised, with real social impact. We support the StoryLab Research Institute, whose projects include interactive music apps and documenting lifesaving childbirth procedures, the Policing Institute for the Eastern Region (PIER), as well as nine international research clusters including the Centre for Children's Book Studies and the Labour History Research Unit.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, six of our subject areas were awarded world-leading status: Law; Art and Design; English Language and Literature, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies; History; Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Access to legal resources

Cambridge has three courts, all close to ARU’s campus, where you can attend cases relevant to your studies: the Cambridgeshire Magistrates CourtCambridge Crown Court and Cambridge County and Family Court. The benefits of attending court cases for law students have been outlined in a recent Guardian article.

You can receive access to the University of Cambridge’s world-renowned Squire Law Library, where you will find resources including rare antiquarian legal history materials, a historical Labour Law collection and numerous old editions of prominent legal texts.

Access our own extensive library facilities on-campus, including an online digital library. All our LLM students receive a two-hour session with a dedicated Law School Librarian during Semester One and Semester Two. This will introduce you to research skills, and is carried through into the Research module.

Extracurricular law activities

Join our Law Society and take part in national competitions including mooting and Client Interviewing (won by ARU a record six times), or contribute to our Anglia Law Review. Mooting and Client Interviewing will further develop many of your transferable skills, including teamworking, public speaking, research and analysis, listening and responding, creative thinking and empathy.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

From September 2018, EU students starting a postgraduate degree with us can access a £600 bursary.

Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online