LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Dr Fiona Smith
Other Teachers:
Professor Piet Eeckhout
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 20 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisites: None. No prior knowledge of economics or economic theory is required
Barred module combinations: None
Core module for specialism: International Law
Practice Assessment: Practice essay
Assessment method for LLM students: 3-hour unseen written examination
Module Overview

Module summary


This class will examine the WTO trade regime in detail. In particular, the WTO structure, its rules on goods, services, intellectual property, dispute settlement, international agricultural trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barries to trade, rules of origin, safeguards, subsidies and dumping. It will include examination of institutional structures, principles and ‘trade & …’ linkage issues, such as trade and environment, trade and public health and trade and human rights. The WTO Agreement and the reports of the dispute settlement bodies will provide core materials for the class. Students will, however, be expected to read widely in the secondary literature dealing with international trade in order to evaluate current arrangements and policies, and to think constructively about possibilities for reform.


  • To provide a detailed coverage of the rules of the WTO
  • To introduce students to the place of international trade rules within the international legal system
  • To place analysis of trade law in a broader normative framework, in order to understand and assess policy spillovers between different regimes;
  • To familiarize students with contemporary debates about trade and non-trade values, such as trade and environment/human rights.


By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a detailed understanding of the WTO rules;
  • critically assess the tension between law, economics and politics in an international regulatory environment;
  • evaluate the role of WTO law within its members’ domestic legal systems.
  • demonstrate a detailed understanding of the implications of the WTO for non-trade values;
  • critically assess the role of the WTO in relation to disputes which implicate non-trade values;
  • develop a capacity for innovative thinking in institutional design at the interface between trade and other transnational regimes.

Module syllabus

  1. Introduction
  2. What is the WTO
  3. Joining the WTO
  4. Monitoring States’ Obligations through non-judicial means
  5. Dispute Settlement: Basic Procedures and Principles including obligations of the panel & Appellate Body
  6. Dispute Settlement: Treaty Interpretation, Applicable Law & conflicts of law
  7. Trade in Goods: GATT
  8. Trade in Goods: General exceptions, including security restrictions
  9. Trade in Goods: Trade and Environment
  10. Trade in Goods: Export Controls
  11. Trade in Goods: Restrictions on Fair Trade: Safeguard measures.
  12. Trade in Goods: Anti-dumping
  13. Trade in Goods: Subsidies
  14. Trade in Goods: Agriculture
  15. Trade in Goods: Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
  16. Trade in Goods: International Standards
  17. Trade in Services: GATS
  18. Regional Trade Arrangements
  19. Trade and Intellectual Property: TRIPS
  20. Justice and Global Trade

Recommended materials

S. Lester et al, Word Trade Law 2nd ed. (Hart, 2012)’

Preliminary reading

Michael J. Trebilcock: ‘Understanding Trade Law’ (2011) Edward Elgar.
Andrew Lang: ‘World Trade Law After Neoliberalism: re-imagining the Global Economic Order” (2011) OUP

Other information:

Students may find it helpful to look at the WTO website for general information before starting the course: http://www.wto.org/

Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.