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Study information

International Commercial Litigation

Module titleInternational Commercial Litigation
Module codeLAWM176
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Mihail Danov (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

With this module, you will further enhance your knowledge and understanding of private international law, which has now become a significant feature of the legal landscape within which companies navigate and administer their cross-border private relationships. Since a number of potentially different laws could have an impact on the parties’ rights and obligations in cross-border cases, this module will help you understand some important private international law issues which commonly arise in cases where the parties disagree on which court should hear and determine their cross-border dispute and/or on which national law should apply to the merits of their claim with an international element. You will also explore the requirements for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in England and Wales. This will put you in a good position to critically discuss how private international law affects private parties’ access to legal remedies in cross-border cases. You will have the opportunity to analyse cases as well as to critically reflect on various legislative developments in a transnational context.


Althougha prior law degree would be desirable for you to take this module, there is no such pre-requisite.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The focus of the module will be on the private international law issues which would arise in a context of civil and commercial law disputes with an international element. The specific objectives of the course are:


  • To provide you with advanced instructions in the main aspects of private international law which are of relevance to cross-border civil and commercial cases;
  • To allow you to examine critically the jurisdictional rules which will be used by the national courts with a view to exercising jurisdiction in disputes with an international element;
  • To allow you to examine critically the rules relevant to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in relation to civil and commercial matters;
  • To allow you to analyse the rules ascertaining the law/s applicable to the merits of cross-border disputes.


The research-enriched learning/ teaching activities should enable you to enhance your knowledge and understanding, and to develop your analytical skills; both of which will be key if you want to go into practice (e.g. advising parties on issues of jurisdiction and/or applicable law in cross-border cases) or to work as a civil servant within the Ministry of Justice (e.g. considering appropriate policy choices regarding judicial cooperation through private international law instruments) and/or embark on further studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Develop systematic knowledge of private international law rules and principles.
  • 2. Demonstrate the breadth and depth of understanding about the rules concerning jurisdiction, applicable law/s and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.
  • 3. Analyse and synthesise relevant private international law sources.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Construct a legal argument and take an informed view at postgraduate level.
  • 5. Engage with a wide range of library-based and electronic resources autonomously.
  • 6. Identify and solve legal problems, identifying legal issues which affect the legal positions of parties in a cross-border dispute.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Work effectively, managing time efficiently whilst preparing for the seminars and completing assignments.
  • 8. Work independently, within a limited time frame, to complete a specified task.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will focus on the following private international law topics:

Introduction: private international law issues and civil or commercial matters

  • Relevant legal sources and basic concepts
  • The role played by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the European Union and any Brexit implications


Jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

  • Bases of jurisdiction
  • Avoiding parallel and related proceedings
  • Staying proceedings and declining jurisdiction
  • Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments


Global Rules: Jurisdiction and Judgments

  • The 2005 Choice of Court Agreements Convention
  • Convention of 2 July 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters


Choice of law in contract

  • Determining the applicable law in contractual disputes under the Rome I Regulation
  • Mandatory rules and public policy


Choice of law in tort

  • Determining the applicable law in non-contractual disputes under the Rome II Regulation
  • Mandatory rules and public policy

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1510 x 1.5-hour weekly seminars
Guided Independent Study75Individual research, reading and seminar preparation
Guided Independent Study20Formative assessment preparation
Guided Independent Study40Revision and summative assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Open book Exam-style question750 words (0.75 hour exam equivalent)1-8Oral and written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online open book take-home exam1001.5 hour online exam (i.e. 1500 word limit), with 24-hour submission window 1-8Oral and written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Online open book take-home exam (1.5 hour online exam i.e. 1500 word limit, with 24-hour submission window)Online open book take-home exam (1.5 hour online exam i.e. 1500 word limit, with 24-hour submission window)1-8Referral/Deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

This reading list is indicative - i.e. it provides an idea of texts that may be useful to you on this module, but it is not considered to be a confirmed or compulsory reading list for this module.

  • A Briggs, The Conflict of Laws (4th edn, OUP 2019).
  • P Torremans et all, Cheshire, North & Fawcett Private International Law (15th edn, OUP, Oxford, 2017).
  • T C Hartley, International Commercial Litigation: Text, Cases and Materials on Private International Law (3rd edn, CUP 2020).
  • L Collins and J Harris, Dicey, Morris & Collins on the Conflict of Laws (16th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2022).
  • P Beaumont and J Holliday, A Guide to Global Private International Law (Hart Publishing 2022).

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Westlaw
  • HeinOnline

Key words search

Private international law; conflict of laws; jurisdiction; choice of law; recognition and enforcement.

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date