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The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS6179 International Commercial Litigation

Module Overview

With the dramatic rise of international trade in the last two to three decades, conflict of laws, also known as private international law, has become a key mechanism for regulating transnational commercial relationships. As it provides the wider legal background against which commercial parties negotiate their contracts and settle or arbitrate their disputes, conflict of laws now belongs to the standard tool kit of any practitioner dealing with transnational commerce. Private international law is the body of law which deals with transnational private disputes (of which are there many) and lays down the ‘meta-rules’ that decide which national court should hear the dispute, which law should be applicable and in what circumstances can a foreign judgement be enforced or recognised. It also seeks to prevent or resolve parallel proceedings concerning the same dispute and provide for security for the claim. Unlike public international law, private international law is, as a starting point, domestic law but has in the European context been harmonised. This module explores the European Regulations on jurisdiction and applicable law and attendant case law of Court of Justice of the EU and English courts, and compares the European rules on jurisdiction with traditional English law on jurisdiction as well as US law.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The national and regional framework of private international law and its relevance to international commercial and maritime relationships and disputes.
  • The main legal rules and principles governing where a transnational commercial dispute can be heard, which law should be applied and whether a foreign judgement will or will not be enforced or recognised.
  • Public policy and other values that underlie conflict of laws in general and in relation to specific rules.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Source, interpret and analyse relevant legal materials, including, where appropriate, international conventions, statutes, case law and standard form contracts.
  • Identify, evaluate and apply key legal principles in solving transnational commercial disputes.
  • Identify and critically evaluate key legal and policy issues in their social and economic contexts arising out of transnational law.
  • Communicate legal arguments effectively.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Distinguish relevant from irrelevant materials.
  • Identify and analyse key issues.
  • Think critically, develop coherent arguments in writing.
  • Display clarity and objectivity in written discussion demonstrating an awareness of issue of academic integrity.

Syllabus

The following gives you an indicative list of the topics covered: * foundations of jurisdiction * jurisdiction agreements * rules of jurisdiction under English, EU and US law * rules dealing with multiple proceedings * principles of applicable law in contractual disputes * international Conventions on conflict of laws

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is taught through seminars (10 x 2hours) which combine lecture-style and interactive tutorial-style teaching. You are expected to prepare for the seminar by completing previously allocated reading and other tasks. The module is taught through seminars (10 x 2hours) which combine lecture-style and interactive tutorial-style teaching. You are expected to prepare for the seminar by completing previously allocated reading and other tasks. The most important part of learning is your own independent study. This will, however, be closely guided, and firmly tied into the seminars and assessment. In the seminars you will have the opportunity to present arguments orally to a group of peers and defend your position under challenge.

TypeHours
Independent Study130
Blended Learning20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

T. Hartley (2015). International Commercial Litigation. 

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

A. Briggs (2019). The Conflict of Laws. 

Assessment

Formative

Formative Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Open Book Exam  (48 hours) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Open Book Exam  (48 hours) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Open Book Exam  (48 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

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:

Textbooks

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 www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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