International and Commercial Dispute Resolution Law LLM
Alternative attendance modes for this course
Courses start in September, unless otherwise stated
View course-specific entry requirements
You should have a good Honours degree in Law or any non-Law subject from a UK university, or the equivalent from a non-UK university, and satisfactory references. Other qualifications or experiential routes can sometimes be agreed. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent in each of the elements.
The course is intended for anyone wishing to demonstrate a commitment to contentious law in public and private international and commercial legal contexts. The taught part of the programme includes modules which reflect the three main forms of dispute resolution process, namely adjudication (litigation and arbitration), alternative dispute resolution (ADR – principally mediation), and negotiation.
This course differs from the International Commercial Law LLM course which is primarily concerned with non-contentious aspects of commerce (modules include competition law, trade, and insurance).
Class sizes are, in general, quite small, and you will be able to mix with students on other Masters courses at Westminster Law School.
The course provides an opportunity for in-depth study of the substantive and procedural issues involved in the field, and also the acquisition of skills involved in some of the processes. It is centrally concerned with law and other rules (international and commercial) which are applicable in adjudication and also in the other dispute resolution processes.
In addition to taught modules, there is also the Dissertation module which provides an opportunity for developing a specialist knowledge of a small area of the field, which might lead to a publishable article.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
PERSPECTIVES ON CONFLICTS AND DISPUTES
This taught module introduces some of the essential elements of dispute resolution, and is designed to enable anyone to develop insights into the nature of international and commercial disputes and how they might best be resolved effectively.
This module allows you to develop a knowledge and understanding of a specialist portion of the field of international and commercial dispute resolution. You will have the support of a supervisor for this independent research and writing process. You must agree the topic with the module leader. The topic must not replicate your own prior work or anyone else's work. Your work for this module should provide you with advanced skills in research, analysis, evaluation, and writing, all of which should stand you in good stead for any subsequent academic, professional or other career.
RESEARCH THEORY AND PRACTICE
This module introduces you to the general concepts of legal and social scientific (empirical) methods of research, and gives you a greater understanding of the principles of advanced research. You will consider the relevance of these methods for the study of law, which will enhance your understanding of the legal, social scientific and philosophical debates on methodology and practice. It will also enable you to evaluate your own work and that of other researchers and authors.
INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
This module introduces you to the study of international commercial litigation, and examines issues arising in regard to jurisdiction, judgments and other procedural issues. You will also cover intra-European Union and traditional English aspects of conflict of laws in cross-border commercial litigation.
COMPARATIVE COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION: LAW AND PRACTICE
You will be introduced to the study of comparative international commercial arbitration (excluding international arbitration between sovereign states and non-sovereign entities in the context of cross-border direct investment). You will examine the law and practice of international arbitration in the major arbitration centres of the world other than England (save for essential comparative purposes), and explore how different legal systems, and arbitrators from different legal cultures, interact in the course of resolution of commercial disputes by arbitration.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT ARBITRATION
This module introduces you to the study of public international arbitration between sovereign states and non-sovereign entities, such as companies, in the context of cross-border direct investment. You will examine the investment and disinvestment relationships between disputing parties (State and private) and the nature, function and interpretation of foreign investment instruments. You will also explore the relationship between international law and municipal investment laws, and tribunals and awards.
INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION
You will be introduced to the study of international commercial arbitration from the perspective of the English jurisdiction as an exemplar of an international centre for commercial arbitration. The aim is to include four pairs of overlapping relationships: between parties and tribunals; between parties and courts; between tribunals and courts; and between England and foreign fora. There will be focus, inter alia, on the ICC (institutional arbitration) and the New York Convention.
MEDIATION: CONCEPTS, EVOLUTION AND PRACTICE
This module introduces you to the modes and culture of mediation as a dispute resolution process in a range of contexts, with a detailed analysis of the growth of mediation practice and theory, as well as current and possible future trends. You will become familiar with the conceptual, legal and practical frameworks for mediation, and how it is used in the UK and internationally. You will also develop basic mediation skills, learn to appreciate the roles of those taking part in the mediation processes, and acquire communication and other skills which are particularly useful in the mediation context.
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: CULTURES, INTEGRATION AND LAW
This module provides an introduction to the field of restorative justice, covering international, domestic and public aspects of the field, and the main processes involved in dispute prevention and resolution. The module includes consideration of conflicts within and between groups, and victim-offender mediation and other processes within the field.
NEGOTIATION: THEORY, CONTEXTS AND PRACTICE
The aim of this module is to introduce the study and practice of negotiation in the contexts of international and municipal commerce, international affairs and international law, examining inter alia issues arising out of conflicts and disputes in those contexts. Among the areas covered are the relationships between pairs of negotiators; negotiators and the law; negotiators and ambient cultures; and theories and practices of negotiation.
PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL DISPUTES
This module will introduce you to the various techniques and institutions available in international law for resolving disputes between States. You will examine diplomatic means of dispute settlement, including negotiation and mediation, and legal means of dispute settlement – arbitration and litigation. You will also consider the availability of alternative mechanisms for the resolution of inter-state disputes, and the range of international courts and tribunals that now exist. The module refers to specific past and pending cases and disputes, and there will be a special emphasis on the law, practice and procedure of the International Court of Justice.
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
This module introduces you to the protection of human rights in international law. You will gain an overview of the historical and philosophical background of human rights, and a greater understanding of the protection of human rights at the international level though the UN and regional systems (with particular emphasis on Europe). You will also study contemporary issues in international human rights law, such as refugees, humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, and terrorism and torture.
The course is designed to benefit a wide range of individuals who are committed to developing their knowledge, skills and insights into contentious international and commercial dispute resolution. The range of individuals who can benefit include: experienced practitioners such as potential judges, arbitrators, and mediators; other professionals who need to have advanced appreciation of international and commercial law, such as civil servants, diplomats, directors, insurers, journalists, linguists, and managers; and paralegals and newly qualified practitioners who need to fill in the gaps left by their existing qualifications and experience to date;
The course will also ideal if you want to progress towards a PhD programme. The course will also be beneficial for you if you are taking a gap year between career stages, and if you are from continental European Union or other countries and want to improve your English for career purposes.
Richard Earle, Course leader
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
Career Development Activities
Westminster law students benefit from the following:
- Dedicated 1-2-1 appointments with careers advisors.
- Feedback and advice on CVs, applications and interview preparation.
- Employer panel events and talks.
- Law vacancy jobs bulletin.
- Annual Law Fair Consortium.
- Mock Assessment Centres and Interviews.
Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.
We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.
In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.
For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.
More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
Study in the city
If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.
Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.
After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.
Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships
In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.
All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.
Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.
Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.
Personal advice and counselling
While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.
With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.
Study Abroad and Summer School programmes
Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.
If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.
Sport and recreation
The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.
University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.
I graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2010 and was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in February 2012. I have worked as a Barrister and Solicitor in some of Nigeria’s most reputable law firms.
I became a student of the Westminster Law School after I was awarded the Chevening scholarship to pursue postgraduate studies in International and Commercial Dispute Resolution Law. I picked the University of Westminster because I was looking for the opportunity to study the theory and practice of many types of dispute resolution methods, including the not so popular ones. The University of Westminster offered a great package because it is the only University that does not alienate so many alternative procedures in its dispute resolution course.
Studying at the University of Westminster was thrilling. I met teachers that in addition to sharing all the relevant knowledge demonstrated the importance of in-depth research and critical analysis skills. Given that Westminster Law School is situated in central London, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand all the reasons why London is such a popular city.
Now following my graduation, I will be going back to Nigeria to continue my career as a legal practitioner and, most importantly, continue my research on ways to incorporate alternative dispute resolution procedures into the Nigerian court system, to ensure that only disputes that require the coercive powers of the court or that involve new and important issues are resolved by litigation. It is my opinion that this will help in reducing the delays in the litigation of civil disputes.
My experience studying at the University of Westminster was profoundly valuable, as it enhanced my legal knowledge and helped me realize what my future career would entail. I chose Westminster due to the uniqueness of the course structure and the geographical location of the campus. My program director was extremely well read and brilliantly exposed us to the wonders of the world of ADR. I recently completed my MSc in Oil and Gas Trade Management, and upon obtaining my PhD degree, I plan on working as a negotiator for energy companies.
Living in London was one of the best experiences of my life, as it broadened my horizons due to its multicultural and diverse nature. My advice to all prospective students would be to be prepared to walk and learn a great deal from this historical yet lively city. Whether you're into history, arts, sports, culture or gastronomy, there is something for everyone to do and see in London!
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