International Trade and Maritime Law

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Course overview
(LLM) Master of Laws
International Trade and Maritime Law
University of Essex
University of Essex
Law (School of)
Colchester Campus
LLM M22124

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A 2:2. Degree in Law or a joint honours Degree with Law. Applicants who do not hold a Law Degree but who have additional relevant professional experience and/or traineeships or professional qualifications/certifications issued by professional bodies such as Bar Associations can apply and will be considered.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.0 in writing

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes

Please refer to the full time version of this course for information on Core and Compulsory modules.

External examiners

Dr Ebenezer Adodo

Associate Professor of Commercial Law

The University of Leicester

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2020/21

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 Law Option(s) from list Compulsory with Options 120 Optional Compulsory

Year 2 - 2021/22

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 LW600-7-FY Dissertation: LLM International Trade Law Core 60 Optional
02 Law Option(s) from list Optional 120 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

International Trade Law and Maritime law are important, extensive, complex, fascinating and specialised areas of law. Their particularity lies in the fact that they bring together many fields of law (such as contract law, public international law, finance law, law of the sea, company law and insurance law) together with a plethora of international treaties and conventions. They lay down the foundations for the regulation of trade between states. The LLM in International Trade and Maritime Law taught by international experts in the field offers specialised modules which develop the necessary skills to research, litigate and negotiate in international trade law, international company law, marine insurance law, carriage of goods by sea and ship sale, admiralty law, international finance law, international environmental law as well as the law of the sea. The international character of our LLM is matched by the diversity of our staff and students forming a truly global community which is reflective of the nature of international trade and shipping.

The aims of the programme are to:
• give you a thorough and in-depth knowledge and understanding of the main principles of law in the areas of international trade and maritime law
• to provide you with a clear understanding of the social, political, cultural and economic background of the laws in question;
• give you an understanding of how national, European Union Law and international law interact
• provide you with an understanding of legal principles deriving from a variety of legal instruments, including standard contracts, national law, international law and conventions, EU Law and national and international case law.
• provide you with advanced skills of legal analysis and problem solving which are crucial for a career in the legal field
• study maritime law in great depth and understand the historic roots of modern trade, international conventions, marine insurance and the carriage of goods by sea
• study the current developments in the field in question and understand the rationale behind reform

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: Fundamental doctrines and principles of maritime and trade law, and the institutions and procedures of the legal system of England and Wales.

A2: How Law influences and is influenced by the business environment by organisations such as the IMO (International Maritime Organization).

A3: Social, cultural, economic and political context in which the law develops.

A4: Some substantive areas of law in depth, specifically trade and maritime law.

A5: Some substantive areas of the study of business in depth, particularly the maritime industry and commerce.

Learning methods

A1 – A5 are acquired (depending on student numbers) through lectures, seminars and tutorials. Students are expected to undertake thorough and in-depth independent research in the fields of International Trade and Maritime Law (including wet and dry shipping) which involves the analysis of primary and secondary UK and international sources. They are required to submit research of high quality which involves not only a thorough analysis of law but also of the economic, cultural, political and societal actors which underpin it, particularly the commercial aspects of the maritime industry but also the responsibilities of trade parties towards the public The analysis involves a variety of legal documents that range from national laws to international conventions and it is based on the referencing of a wide range of resources which include reports, articles, books as well as conference papers and national and international case law, such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Chamber of Commerce. The essays in question form an original piece of research and require a high level of skills. Students will also be tested on their understanding and knowledge in examinations for some modules, to showcase their ability to think on-the-spot without support of secondary material.

Assessment methods

Testing of the knowledge base for A1 – A5 is through assessed and formative coursework consisting of essays and a dissertation. Some modules also test knowledge through unseen exams.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: Identify accurately the issue(s) which require researching.

B2: Apply relevant primary and secondary legal sources.

B3: Reason critically, identify, analyse, and solve problems, sometimes within a comparative framework.

B4: Recognise, rank and collate items and issues in terms of relevance and importance.

B5: Produce a synthesis of relevant doctrinal and policy issues in relation to a topic.

B6: Make a critical judgement of the merits of particular arguments.

B7: Present and make a reasoned choice between alternative solutions.

B8: Demonstrate and exercise independence of thought.

B9: Apply methods of legal analysis to business issues and vice versa.

B10: Be aware of the legal dimension of business and moral issues and vice versa.

Learning methods

Skills B1 – B10 are obtained and developed through lectures and class-independent reading undertaken by students in the light of guidance by lecturers. Intellectual and cognitive skills are also acquired through written and oral feedback on coursework which has the characteristics explained in the previous section. In addition, at the end of the year the students are under the obligation to submit a large 20,000 word dissertation which requires identifying the exact research question, to apply primary and secondary legal and business resources, to critically assess major legal questions and problems and to suggest solutions or take side in a debate. The analysis involves legal, political, historical, cultural as well as doctrinal matters and requires the students to make reasoned arguments which should be well-referenced in literature and jurisprudence. They are required to criticise the existing parties to major debates as well as to take side and choose between contrasting views. The dissertation is a demanding piece of independent research which requires a high level analysis of a particular field within the area of international trade and maritime law.

Assessment methods

Skills B2 – B10 will be acquired through essays and exams, and B1 – B10 through the 20,000 word dissertation.

C: Practical skills

C1: Identify, select and retrieve up-to-date information relating to law and business, using both paper and electronic sources.

C2: Use and apply terminology and concepts relating to law and business.

C3: Plan and undertake tasks in areas of law and business science already studied, and undertake independent research in areas of law and business not previously studied, starting from standard information sources.

Learning methods

C1-C3 will be at the core of the lectures which are to prepare the students for the submission of their 5,000-word essays as well as their 20,000-word dissertation as thoroughly explained above. The students are required to analyse the historical evolution of doctrines and conventions in order to explain the nature of modern developments in the field using multiple primary and secondary resources. A precise use of legal terminology is at the centre of the relevant analysis. The students are required and taught as to how to analyse a field of law which is quite well researched in the past and yet to be able to submit an original piece of work; it involves their ability to criticise, analyse, compare, explain well-researched questions or aspects of law which are yet relatively unexplored

Assessment methods

Skills C1 - C3 are assessed through continuous coursework. In addition to traditional research methods, students are expected to use the internet when researching their coursework in order to find primary and secondary sources, either in on-line or paper format. Skill C3 is acquired in particular when writing a dissertation in their final year. Skill C2 will also be acquired through exams.

D: Key skills

D1: Communication: Both orally and in writing, (i) work with the English language proficiently in relation to legal matters and matters of business; (ii) present knowledge or an argument in a clear, coherent and relevant manner.

D2: IT Skills: (i) Produce a word-processed essay or other text in an appropriate form and (ii) use the worldwide web, e-mail, and also some electronic information retrieval systems.

D3: Numeracy: Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, use, present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form.

D4: Problem Solving: Analyse a reasonably complex set of facts and apply relevant law and political science thereto.

D5: Participate in group work to the benefit of the group as a whole.

D6: With limited guidance, reflect on his or her own learning, and to make use of feedback.

Learning methods

Skill D1 is obtained through active participation in class debates, through the group presentation in the core module as well as through the submission of highly demanding coursework.

Skill D2 is obtained and developed in all modules through coursework preparation, in particular by using web-based materials and law data bases (such as LEXIS, WESTLAW, SSRN etc).

Skill D3 will be obtained through a number of modules with participation in class problem questions and in exams with questions dealing with calculation of damages.

Skills D1, D2, D4 and D6 will be learnt through writing summative and formative coursework and consequent feedback, both written and obtained in oral sessions.

Skill D5 will be obtained through the group project and presentation forming part of the assessment on the compulsory module.

Skill D6 is developed, in particular, by discussing feedback on coursework with module directors.

Assessment methods

Skills D1, D2, D4 and D6 are assessed through coursework including an extensive dissertation.

Skill D3 will be assessed during coursework and exams via problems questions dealing with the calculation of damages.

Skill D5 will be assessed as part of the group project and presentation of the compulsory teaching module.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


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