International Commercial Litigation: Choice of Law

Module code: LW7010

Module co-ordinator: Dr Diana Sancho Villa

Module Outline

Private international law is an aspect of English private law which applies to cases where a foreign element or aspect is present. The number of cases that refer to private international law rules is increasing. During the last century, international trade and commerce, free movement, migration have resulted in many more cases being brought before the English courts that require reference to rules of private international law. The objective of private international law is to build a bridge between different legal systems by providing rules of jurisdiction, choice of law and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements. The role of the EU, other regional trade groups and international organisations in shaping these rules has also increased.

In this sister module to LW7005 we consider choice of law rules in civil and commercial matters. Examples of some of the questions that students have the opportunity to consider in this module are: can parties select the applicable law to cross-border contracts and torts? Is freedom restricted by mandatory rules and public policy and in what circumstances do these restrictions operate? Which particular parties require protection via special choice of law rules and how effective are those rules in fostering such protection? In a similar fashion to LW7005, an appreciation of choice of law rules is important to ensure that the substantive applicable law can be identified and applied by the parties and for the effective management of litigation and transaction risk in international commerce.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, seminars, drop-in tutorial session, private study and Blackboard VLE.

Assessment Methods

One Research paper (not exceeding 5,000 words including footnotes).


It is preferable that students should have studied law in, or law should represent a significant component of, their first or previous degree. Students who have not studied LW7005 in Semester One and who elect to take this module will be required to undertake some self-study reading from selected chapters of the recommended course text(s) in use at the time.