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 Melis Özdel
Other Teachers:
Alessandro Spano (Tutorials)
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 20 x two-hour seminars plus tutorials
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core module for specialism: International Banking and Finance Law, International Commercial Law, Maritime Law
Practice Assessment: to be confirmed
Assessment method for LLM students: three-hour unseen written examination
Module Overview

Module summary

The selling and purchasing of goods across territorial borders is an ancient yet sophisticated commercial activity. International trade involves interlocking contracts, including letters of credit and contracts of sale, carriage and insurance, all of which concern the minds of traders whilst performing this activity for profit. In pursuit of certainty and predictability in their affairs, traders around the world typically refer to English law in their sale contracts as the governing law. This module offers a study of the rights and obligations of buyers and sellers under contracts for the international sale of goods, focusing particularly on the English Sale of Goods Act 1979.

The aims of the module, in essence, are:

  • to ensure an in-depth understanding of the workings of international trade, the key aspects of English international trade law, and the relevant soft law instruments
  • to develop students’ skills in deciding what works best for a buyer and seller under English law by reference to soft law instruments and standard form sale contracts
  • to give students the ability to identify and resolve legal issues involving interlocking contracts
  • to raise students’ awareness of the effects of market conditions on the conduct of buyers and sellers in international trade.

Module syllabus

The module topics include:

  • Introduction to the law of international trade: The workings of international trade, the key concepts, the regulatory framework and Incoterms 2010
  • Passing of risk and property
  • CIF and FOB sales
  • Functions and significance of bills of lading and other shipping documents
  • Multimodal transportation and multimodal transport documents
  • Payment methods, letters of credit and UCP600
  • Frustration and force majeure
  • Remedies for breach of the sale contract
  • The Vienna Convention on International Sale of Goods 1980
  • The governing law and jurisdiction in the international sale of goods

    NB: this module does not cover questions of trade between nation states (e.g. matters relating to the World Trade Organisation)

Recommended materials

Lecture notes and tutorial sheets will be posted on Moodle (virtual learning environment) .

There is no single book covering the module syllabus in its entirety. However, it is vital that students regularly consult Debattista C., (2008) Bills of Lading in Export Trade (3rd edition) (Tottel Publishing) for a proper understanding of the key topics covered in this module.

It is recommended that you also consult the following practitioners’ books:

  • Bridge M., (2010) Benjamin ’s Sale Goods (8th edition) (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Raymond J. et al. (2009) Documentary Credits (4th edition) (Tottel Publishing)
  • Murray C. et al (2007) Schmitthoff's Export Trade and Practice of International Trade (11th edition) Sweet & Maxwell
  • Lorenzon F. et al (2012) Sassoon: CIF and FOB Contracts (5th edition) (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Bridge M., (1999) International Sale of Goods (OUP)
  • Goode R., (2010) Commercial Law (4th edition) (Penguin)

In the lecture notes, there will also be references to various other practitioners’ books and journal articles.

Preliminary reading

Debattista C., (2008) Bills of Lading in Export Trade (3rd edition) (Tottel Publishing), Chapter 1
Lorenzon F. et al (2012) Sassoon: CIF and FOB Contracts (5th edition) (Sweet & Maxwell), Chapter 1
Bridge M., (2010) Benjamin's Sale Goods (8th edition) (Sweet & Maxwell), Chapter 1

Other information: N/A
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now closed.

Information regarding applications for September 2015 will be updated on the website in September 2014.

IMPORTANT NOTICE : Updated 28 May 2014

The Home Office issued an update about the acceptance of ETS tests (including TOEFL). They have now confirmed that Higher Education students applying for a Tier 4 visa may use a TOEFL test taken after 17 April, if a Higher Education Institution is willing to use its academic discretion. For those students entering in September 2014, UCL will continue to accept the TOEFL even if it was taken after 17 April. However, if an applicant still needs to book a test then we recommend that they take an alternative test to TOEFL. Those who have already arranged to take a different test following the previous advice from the Home Office, we encourage you to go ahead with taking the alternative test.

The TOEFL test will continue to be accepted for 2014 entrants who have been asked to take an English language qualification as part of their offer condition, and do not need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.