The University of Southampton

LAWS3146 Commercial Conflict of Laws and International Litigation 1

Module Overview

This module considers the conflict of laws issues that may arise in a commercial dispute with an international element such as which arbitration tribunal or court has jurisdiction to determine the merits of the dispute. It explores how parallel proceedings in more than one State can be prevented, so that any court judgment or arbitration award can be recognised and enforced. The European Regulations on jurisdiction and the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the English courts are studied. The rules in the European Regulations on jurisdiction are compared and contrasted with English national law. The shortcomings of both systems, despite recent reform of the European Regulation on jurisdiction, are analysed and proposals for reform considered. Arbitration is also considered. You will also have the opportunity to undertake self-directed research tasks with minimum guidance including independently researching the harmonisation of private international law in Europe. This module can count as one of the Maritime Option modules that students on the LLB Maritime Law need to select from. The subject is continued in the Commercial Conflicts of Law and International Litigation 2 module.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• to study the ways in which individual States or groups of States, notably the European Union, endeavour to deal with the types of conflict of laws problems that arise in international commerce, such as jurisdiction and enforcement; • to cover major international conventions and selected EU and national legislation or case law in this area to enable alternative approaches to issues. To examine methods of conflict avoidance in the fields of contract, tort and domicile of companies; • to examine international civil procedure relevant to transnational commercial litigation from both an EU and comparative perspective; • to prepare you for employment in private practice, corporate or public employment with a large transnational component by developing your transferable and problem-based learning skills.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the various techniques for dealing with international commercial problems involving conflict of laws;
  • a comparison of the major Conventions/Regulations and other supranational legislation as well as selected provisions of national laws dealing with commercial conflict of laws;
  • the various techniques for dealing with international civil procedural problems in commercial litigation;
  • questions of private international law regarding insurance, subrogation, assignment and direct action;
  • the impact of EU law on domestic English private international law
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • explain similarities and differences in national approaches, outcomes, policies and underlying philosophies;
  • form your own view on the desirability and viability of harmonisation of private international law in Europe affecting businesses;
  • identify the level of convergence currently existing among European private international law systems
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • use the full range of learning resources;
  • be reflective on your own work in order to improve practice;
  • be an independent and self-critical learner, managing your own requirements for continuing personal professional development including via confident academic and professional communication with others
  • deploy arguments in writing clearly, autonomously and competently demonstrating an awareness of academic integrity


This module addresses the Conflict of Laws, or Private International Law as it is usually called in civil law jurisdictions, deals with the law relating to private law cases containing significant foreign elements. The module will consider questions of jurisdiction - the extent to which English and/or other courts will assume jurisdiction over cases containing foreign elements - and questions of recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments – in what circumstances will judgments of foreign courts, particularly those of an EU Member State, be recognized and enforced in England. Anti-suit injunctions and damages for breach of an arbitration or court jurisdiction clause will also be studied. The frequency of conflict of laws problems is increasing with the growth of international trade. Moreover, the EU’s harmonization of the rules of jurisdiction has introduced a new dimension to the subject. The module covers the main private law areas of contract, tort or delict, insurance, property, comparative conflicts in company law, arbitration and a number of issues relating to international civil procedure. Where appropriate, a comparison with the US is made.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Non-assessed essay • Class room discussion The module is taught by 10 two-hour weekly lectures and 5 one-hour fortnightly tutorials. Preparation for and participation in lectures and tutorials will develop: • Your knowledge of the substantive principles and rules on commercial conflict of laws • Your ability to manage and access a diverse range of sources of law, notably EU Regulations and the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the English courts. • Your ability critically to evaluate those sources and to participate constructively in oral discussions concerning them • Your ability to assess reform proposals and comment critically on them • Your time management and research skills

Preparation for scheduled sessions100
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

T. Hartley (2015). International Commercial Litigation. 

P. Rogerson (2013). Collier’s Conflict of Laws. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 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:

Books and Stationery equipment

It is recommended that you buy a copy of EITHER: P. Rogerson, Collier’s Conflict of Laws, 4th ed,, 2013, Cambridge University Press OR T. Hartley, International Commercial Litigation, 2nd ed., 2015, Cambridge University Press

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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