The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS6064 International Trade Law

Module Overview

There would be no wealth without trade and trade requires a clear and predictable legal framework for its paradigm transaction, the sale of goods. This subject brings into sharp relief the challenging principles of commercial law and the harsh realities of the marketplace. Traders around the world frequently choose English law to govern their contracts, with disputes to be resolved through London arbitration or litigation. The basis of that law is to be found in the English Sale of Goods Act 1979 and this course consequently includes an examination of the fundamental principles of that Act.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce students to the contracts and procedures of export transactions • Familiarise students with those parts of English law applying to such transactions • Educate students in the resolution of disputes arising from such transactions

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • c.i.f. and f.o.b. contracts
  • Incoterms 2000
  • letters of credit and the UCP 600
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse complex commercial problems in the commodity markets
  • Communicate legal arguments orally and/or in writing
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • understand the relationship between an export sale contract and the contracts of carriage and finance surrounding it;
  • apply the terms of the UK Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Incoterms and the Common Law to a dispute arising between an export seller and buyer.

Syllabus

Most contracts for the trading of commodities around the world are governed by English law. The abbreviations cif and fob have now been common in commercial parlance for many centuries and have generated several variants through successive versions of Incoterms: English contract and commercial law have thus placed an indelible imprint on the law of international trade. This course examines how the UK Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the accompanying common law help resolve disputes which arise, whether in litigation or arbitration, between international sellers and buyers around the world. The topics covered include • Negotiating the contract of sale: special problems of incorporation • Making a transport contract conforming to the sale contract • Opening a letter of credit conforming to the contract of sale • Risk and property in the Goods • The seller’s duties regarding the goods: description, satisfactory quality and sales by sample • Delivery: when, where and on which ship; duties to provide information • Laytime and Demurrage Clauses in Sale Contracts • Frustration and Force Majeure clauses • Payment against documents: what documents must the seller tender? • The Banks’ Responsibilities when documents are tendered for payment • The buyer and his right of access to the goods: selling the goods on by endorsement • The seller’s duty to tender a document accurately recording the state of the goods on shipment • The seller’s duties regarding the contractual terms of the bill of lading • Rejection of goods and documents • Fraud in international trade

Special Features

• This option cuts across three distinct but related contracts, sale, carriage and the letter of credit • The option brings into sharp relief several fundamentals of the English common law and places them against the context of the harsh reality of the commodity markets • The subject, although originating in the English common law, travels well into many other jurisdictions.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Seminars, where students will be expected to read set secondary and primary sources in advance; • Tutorials, which will give students the opportunity to resolve practical problems in small groups. Learning activities include • Reading and understanding relevant practitioner texts • Reading and analysing relevant primary sources, e.g. reported cases, relevant statutes and standard term contracts • Analysing and resolving practical problems

TypeHours
Teaching50
Independent Study250
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Benjamin. Sale of Goods. 

Bridge. International Sale of Goods. 

Debattista. Sale of Goods Carried by Sea. 

Schmitthoff. Export Sales. 

Lorenzon. CIF and FOB Contracts. 

Assessment

Formative

Mock exam

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%
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