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 Florian Wagner-von Papp Other Teachers: N/A


This module provides an introduction to the methodology of comparative law and compares the contract law of common law and civil law jurisdictions. A particular emphasis will be on English, U.S. American and German contract law, but reference will be made to other legal systems.

Additionally, the module will deal with the issue of harmonisation in the area of European Contract Law (in particular the Draft Common Frame of Reference and the Proposal for a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law) and International Sales Law (in particular the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, CISG).

Substantive issues covered in the module include contract formation, contract construction, vitiating factors, third-party beneficiaries, performance, non-performance/breach, and remedies. When looking at these substantive issues, we will employ comparative methodology. This means that we:

  1. first define the real-life problem to which we seek a solution;
  2. discuss how English, US and German law (and, later, harmonising instruments) deal with this problem (‘country reports’);
  3. identify the similarities and differences between the approaches of these jurisdictions;
  4. search for institutional or historic reasons for these similarities or differences; and
  5. discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various solutions from a policy perspective.


  1. Introduction to Comparative Law: Overview, Objectives and the Basic Methodology
  2. Common Law: Introduction to English and US Contract Law
  3. Civil Law: Introduction to German Contract Law
  4. Formation of Contracts I: Offer
  5. Formation II: Acceptance and Agreement Issues
  6. Formation III: Consideration and Form (and other functional equivalents)
  7. Formation IV: Consideration and Estoppel: England, the U.S. and Australia – Three Countries Divided by a Common Law?
  8. Good Faith and Precontractual Liability
  9. Formalities and Substance
  10. Revision Term I: Comparative Contract Law Exams
  11. Contract Construction and Rectification
  12. Unilateral Mistakes and Induced Mistakes
  13. Breach and Excused Non-Performance (Impossibility/Impracticability/Common Mistake/Frustration)
  14. Remedies I: Specific Performance, Damages and Efficient Breach
  15. Remedies II: Measuring Damages
  16. Rights of Third Parties – Privity
  17. Basics of Private International Law & the sphere of application of the CISG
  18. Contract Law in the CISG / Revision I
  19. European Contract Law I
  20. European Contract Law II / Revision II

Background Reading (optional):

• Zweigert & Kötz, An Introduction to Comparative Law (OUP 1998), ch. 1, 2, 3 & 5
• E. Allan Farnsworth ‘Comparative Contract Law’, in: Mathias Reimann & Reinhard Zimmermann, The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (OUP 2006) pp. 899-935

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 20 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: Yes
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Comparative Law, International Commercial Law
Final Assessment: 3-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Two practice problem questions (one per teaching term)

This page was last updated on 10 July, 2014


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.