Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

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

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.
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.
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.


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

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

Independent Study250
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Bridge. International Sale of Goods. 

Benjamin. Sale of Goods. 

Schmitthoff. Export Sales. 

Debattista. Sale of Goods Carried by Sea. 

Lorenzon. CIF and FOB Contracts. 



Mock Examination


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 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:


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

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings