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Study information

International Commercial Litigation

Module titleInternational Commercial Litigation
Module codeLAW3184
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Isabelle Rueda (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

International commercial litigation examines the legal issues arising from commercial situations that present links with more than one country: (1) which challenges should be considered and taken into account before entering into a cross-border commercial transaction? (2) Which court may hear a dispute between e.g. an English and a Singaporean company? (3) Which law(s) will apply to a contract concluded between a German company and a Welsh consumer? (4) Under which conditions may a foreign judgment be recognised and enforced in England?


Knowledge of the rules regarding international commercial litigation is critical for any commercial lawyer who works in areas of practice that transcend national borders. As most of the commercial disputes that are heard in London involve foreign parties, international commercial litigation constitutes an important part of the work of English commercial courts. More generally, this fascinating area of law is of great practical significance when advising clients in a world where legal relationships are more and more frequently cross-border.


In this course you will draw on common law as well as international sources – with comparative insights on foreign legal systems when relevant.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to enable you to:


  1. identify the main issues involved in international commercial litigation scenarios;
  2. analyse and apply the domestic as well as international rules pertaining to jurisdiction, choice of law and recognition/enforcement of foreign judgments in cross-border situations;
  3. understand the connection between domestic and international rules of international commercial litigation, and determine which set of rules should be applied in a given situation;
  4. critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the domestic and international rules of private international law applicable to international commercial litigation, and the difficulties involved in applying different sets of rules to similar case scenarios.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the main concepts, values and principles relating to international commercial litigation;
  • 2. analyse and critically evaluate key issues related to international commercial litigation and to apply relevant rules and theories.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. demonstrate flexible capability to define complex legal problems, identify their relative significance and select appropriate methods for investigating and critically evaluating them;
  • 4. apply legal knowledge to a problem/ case study and suggest a conclusion supported by relevant arguments and authorities;
  • 5. exhibit the capacity to effectively use discipline-appropriate communication skills in learning activities and/or assessments.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 6. demonstrate a capacity to confidently tackle legal problems by means of a practical problem-solving approach;
  • 7. demonstrate good research skills;
  • 8. work independently, 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 cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Jurisdiction under international instruments relating to international commercial litigation
  • Jurisdiction of English courts under the traditional rules of private international law
  • Stays of English proceedings
  • Restraining foreign proceedings
  • Conflict of laws rules
  • Proof of foreign law
  • Exclusion of foreign law
  • Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments under international instruments relating to international commercial litigation
  • Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments under the traditional rules of private international law

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 Teaching Activities2311 x 2 hour lectures and 1 x 1 hour lecture
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities64 x 1.5 hour workshops
Guided independent study58Individual reading and lecture preparation
Guided Independent Study18Workshop preparation
Guided Independent Study45Assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1,000 words1-8Individual written feedback; oral feedback on request

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
Essay1002,000 words1-8Individual written feedback; oral feedback on request

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (2,000 words)1-8Ref/def period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative reading:

  • TC Hartley, International Commercial Litigation (2nd edn, CUP 2020)
  • J. Hill & M. Ní Shúilleabháin, Clarkson & Hill’s Conflict of Laws (5th edn, OUP 2016)
  • D McClean & V Ruiz Abou-Nigm, The Conflict of Laws (Sweet & Maxwell 2021)
  • Briggs, Private international law in the English courts (OUP 2014)
  • Dicey, Morris & Collins on the Conflict of Laws (15th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2018)
  • R. Fentiman, International commercial litigation(2nd edn, OUP 2015)
  • P. Torremans et al., Cheshire, North & Fawcett Private International Law(15th edn, OUP 2017)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Online databases including, among others: Cambridge Core HeinOnline JSTOR Lexis Library Oxford Legal Research Library Oxford Reference Online Oxford Scholarship Online Taylor & Francis Online Westlaw UK

Key words search

International commercial litigation, conflict of laws, private international law, jurisdiction, choice of law, mandatory rules, foreign law, recognition of foreign judgments, enforcement of foreign judgments

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date