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The University of Southampton

LAWS3056 International Commercial Sales

Module Overview

This module covers international commercial sale contracts, principally CIF and FOB (which account for the vast majority of the world's tonnage internationally shipped), but also other international sales, in particular international commodity sales, and sales envisaging multimodal transport operations.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • rights and duties of the parties (obligations of buyer and seller);
  • risk and property;
  • role of the documents, and the changing documentation;
  • payment mechanisms, letters of credit and the UCP 600;
  • relationship between seller and buyer and actual and/or contracting carrier.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • construct legal arguments clearly and coherently in writing and/or orally through seminar discussion;
  • demonstrate independence of mind in the presentation and defence of an argument, both orally and/or in writing.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • locate and analyse relevant legal and other primary and secondary source materials including model contracts;
  • distinguish relevant from irrelevant materials;
  • identify and analyse key issues;
  • think critically, develop coherent arguments orally and/or in writing, communicate arguments to a group of peers and defend your position under challenge.


The module covers the sale contracts themselves, their finance, and the relationship between the parties to the sale contract and the contractual and/or performing carriers. We will cover specifically: - Rights and duties of the parties (obligations of buyer and seller); - Risk and property; - Role of the documents, and the changing documentation; - Payment mechanisms, letters of credit and the UCP 600; - Relationship between seller and buyer and actual and/or contracting carrier.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching for this module is by lectures and tutorials. Lectures will introduce the main principles and structure of the subject. You are expected to provide the main input to the tutorials, where the main issues of law are discussed. The most important part of learning is your own independent study. This will, however, be closely guided, and firmly tied into the lectures, tutorials and assessment. Most of the discussion will revolve around the main legal decisions, and the arguments that have been advanced, and accepted or rejected in the cases. E-learning E-learning facilities are provided through Blackboard. Lectures will be recorded in case any part of a lecture is missed, and for revision. Computer-based quizzes will be used alongside the lectures and tutorials to help provide a direction for your study. Reading Recommended reading will be provided for each tutorial, and there will be recommended books (which will, however, form only the initial basis for study).

Wider reading or practice100
Preparation for scheduled sessions150
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Todd (2007). Bills of Lading and Bankers' Documentary Credits. 

Todd (2002). Cases and Materials on International Trade Law. 



Mock Examination


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Bills of Lading and Bankers' Documentary Credits is on i-Law, and hence free for students to read.

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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