LLM International Business and Commercial Law

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Global Economic and World Trade Law

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS67031
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course introduces students to the dynamic filed of International Economic Law. More specifically, the course enables students to gain insight into the international monetary system as well as trade and investment law. The unit focuses particularly on the highly relevant field of international trade law. In today’s globalised society, international trade transactions take place daily, and the rules which govern those transactions have become even more important in light of the broader move towards protectionism by many states, and in light of current world events e.g. Brexit. Accordingly, the module will briefly examine the history of international trade law, before moving on to consider the substantive rules applicable to the field. The course will examine the role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as the leading multilateral institution in the field of trade, In this regard, the course will pay special attention to the handling of trade disputes at the WTO by the so-called ‘jewel in the crown’ i.e. the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body. Additionally, many states have sought to regulate their international trade activities outside of the WTO system; accordingly the course will also examine the substantive rules and conditions on which the creation of Custom Unions (CUs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) is permitted under GATT/WTO law. While the unit will provide some insight into why countries are continuously engaging in regional trading blocs e.g. the EU, it will also discuss how possible overlaps of trading blocs may be handled by negotiators and adjudicators.


The following are the aims of this course;

  • To provide an understanding of the field of international economic law;
  • To foster an understanding of the role played by international economic law in the development of international law in a globalised world, and in light of current world events e.g. move towards protectionist policies and Brexit;
  • To foster a basic understanding of international monetary law;
  • To examine the role of the WTO in international trade regulation;
  • To consider how international trade disputes may be settled;
  • To examine the role of free trade and regional trade agreements and how they fit with the multilateral trading system;
  • To very briefly introduce students to basic concepts within the law of foreign investment;
  • To develop students' capacity for critical analysis and independent thinking;
  • To develop a general range of transferable and generic skills in problem-solving and reasoning, computer literacy, time management and written and oral communication.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand the nature of international economic law and its operation;
  • Identify the main principles of international monetary law;
  • Have a detailed understanding of international trade law, including the operation of the WTO as well as FTAs;
  • Understand some basic issues pertaining to the law of foreign investment.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures (30 hours) and seminars (4 hours)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Formative Essays and Research

Feedback will available within this course unit through the completion of an optional formative essay which will be marked in accordance with the PGT Assessment Criteria which are applied to all summative (final) assessments. In addition, oral feedback will be provided during seminars/lectures, and there will be a possibility of seminar presentations by students.

Recommended reading

Recommended Readings

  • Qureshi and Ziegler, International Economic Law, 4th ed. (Sweet & Maxwell, 2019)
  • Van Den Bossche, The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization, Text, Cases and Materials, 4th ed. (CUP, 2017)
  • Lester Simon et al, World Trade Law: Text, Materials and Commentary, 3rd ed. (Hart, 2018)

Further Readings

  • Bartels and Ortino ed., Regional Trade Agreement and the WTO Legal System, (OUP, 2006)
  • Ngangjoh-Hodu & Zhang, The Political Economy of WTO Implementation and China’s Approach to Litigation in the WTO, (Edward Elgar, 2016)
  • Ngangjoh Hodu, Theories and Practices of Compliance with WTO Law, (Kluwer, 2012)
  • Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer, International Investment Law: Texts, Cases and Materials (Edward Elgar, 2020)

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gordon Dim Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Open book take home examination

Guest Lectures and Events - In order to provide students with first hand practical experience, every year top practitioners from international organisations or international law firms dealing with international economic law issues are invited to talk about a particular substantive issue and/or well as career possibilities in their organisations.

Students wanting to undertake a dissertation on this subject will be provided with a list of pre-approved titles/topic from which they can choose, or alternatively, students can submit their own titles for approval by the Course Director.

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