International commercial law LA3009

This module will develop critical understanding of key aspects of, and debates in, commercial law in an international context.

This module will also consider the context, history, drivers and sources of international commercial law as well as mechanisms for dispute resolution.

Topics covered

  • The nature of international commercial law. Discuss the nature of international commercial law, including its history, drivers, sources and mechanisms for dispute resolution. Discuss the key risks associated with international trade and the challenges for international commercial law. Evaluate the need for the harmonisation of international commercial laws.
  • International sales transactions. Explain common types of international sales transactions (including F.O.B. contracts and C.I.F. contracts). Discuss the importance and nature of documents in international sales transactions (including bills of lading). Outline the rights and liabilities of carriers. Identify competing international sales law regimes.
  • The Sale of Goods Act 1979. Explain the significance of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 to international sales transactions. Discuss and apply the approach taken to the interpretation of the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Discuss the extent to which the Law of England and Wales recognises duties of good faith in commercial law. Analyse the components of the definition of a contract of sale. Discuss the significance of the passing of property under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and explain/apply the rules under which property in goods is passed. Discuss the significance of the passing of risk in a contract of sale of goods and identify/apply the rules on how/when risk is passed. Explain and apply the use of retention of title clauses and the limits of such clauses. Explain the nemo dat rule. Discuss, illustrate and apply the exceptions to the nemo dat rule. Explain and apply the duties of the seller to deliver and the buyer to accept goods. Discuss and apply the implied terms in ss.12–15 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Discuss and apply the remedies available to the buyer and the seller where there is a breach of the sale contract.
  • The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). Explain the background, application and scope of the CISG. Compare, contrast, discuss and apply the key provisions of the CISG with the provisions of the Sale of Goods Act 1979, including provisions on interpretation, good faith, obligations, remedies and risk.
  • The financing of international trade. Explain the background considerations in the financing of international trade. Discuss and apply the legal framework for common methods of financing international trade, including the documentary credit.
  • The future: the emergence of a new lex mercatoria? Discuss, in the appropriate social, economic and/or political context, possible future directions in the law relating to international trade and to consider whether a new lex mercatoria has emerged or is emerging.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of international commercial law in context, including its history, drivers, sources and mechanisms for dispute resolution
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of, and ability to evaluate, key debates in international commercial law such as the desirability of harmonisation
  • Explain common types of international sales transactions (including F.O.B. contracts and C.I.F. contracts)
  • Discuss the importance and nature of documents in international sales transactions (including bills of lading)
  • Outline the rights and liabilities of carriers
  • Explain the significance of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 to international sales transactions
  • Discuss and/or apply to complex facts the regime in the Sale of Goods Act 1979 to international sales transactions
  • Discuss and/or apply to complex facts the regime in the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) to international sales transactions
  • Critically compare and contrast the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) with the Sale of Goods Act 1979
  • Critically discuss the need for a principle of good faith in international commercial transactions
  • Explain background considerations in the financing of international trade
  • Critically discuss and apply to complex facts the legal framework for common methods of financing international trade, including the documentary credit
  • Critically discuss, in the appropriate social, economic and/or political context, possible future directions in the law relating to international trade and, where appropriate, make suggestions for reform
  • Articulate well-argued solutions to complex legal questions and problems across a range of legal areas
  • Reflect on learning, identifying areas for improvement and responding appropriately
  • Evaluate legal issues in a social, economic and political context, taking account of their policy and doctrinal importance.

Assessment

3hr 15 mins unseen examination

Essential reading

  • McKendrick, E. Goode on commercial law. (London: Penguin, 2017) 5th edition [ISBN 9780141980522].