Applied Commercial Law and International Business Practices
Contemporary concerns originating in market and business failures sufficiently indicate the vital importance of business law for accountability and performance. Taking account of the rapid developments in this field, this module offers students an unique opportunity to explore business law on a broad spectrum. It allows for an investigation into new and dynamic issues pertinent to the operation of businesses in the international context, including intellectual assets management, international payment and transactions, the governance of businesses and aspects of insolvency and personal responsibility. Designed to accommodate both legal and commercial perspectives, it allows students to obtain an understanding of cutting edge developments in a number of discrete legal areas.
Law of International Trade
This module elaborates and analyses
(a) the legal and commercial issues associated with international sale contracts;
(b) the organization and content of such contracts; and
(c) how parties can engineer satisfactory solutions through adjusting the terms of their agreement against a background of freedom of contract.
The concentration will be on the rules of English law: but reference will be made where relevant to other regimes, including the Uniform Commercial Code and the 1980 Vienna Convention on the International Sale of Goods.
We identify the principal categories of international sale and commodity contracts; in addition, we give extended attention to the INCOTERMS 2020 (both shipping-related and non-shipping-related) promulgated by the International Chamber of Commerce.
Our examination of the legal relationship between international sellers and buyers includes questions of general sales law; of ownership, title and risk; of force majeure; of the commercial and legal significance of transport documentation and insurance; and of the question of remedies.
We will make time available time to discuss contemporary issues as they arise, such as the harmonisation of international trade law, and issues associated with containerisation and multi-modal transport.
Ship and Other Mobile Assets Finance Law
The availability of credit, and the provision of personal and real security that go with it, are vital to entrepreneurial activities everywhere, including in particular the transport sector. This module focuses on the legal framework and policy concerns that underpin the provision of credit, putting particular emphasis on ships and other mobile assets, such as aircraft. Taking both an English and an international perspective, it inquires into the nature and functions of credit and other mechanisms for financing the acquisition of high-value assets, most notably leasing; it also takes a detailed look at personal security and bank guarantees. It then goes on to explore how the law seeks to regulate and balance the competing interests of different categories of creditors, lessors, lessees and other parties implicated in or affected by credit and leasing arrangements, again with particular emphasis on the transport sector.
Admiralty Law is offered as a one-year LLM subject and is commonly taken alongside other maritime options, such as Charterparties: Law and Practice, Law of the Sea, Oil and Gas Law and Marine Insurance Law. However, there is little direct intellectual interaction between the current module on Admiralty Law and other maritime modules. Thus, the course may be of particular interest to students enrolled both on the specific programme of International Maritime Law, as well as the International Commercial and Maritime Law.
This course concerns a practical aspect of maritime law which was developed by the Admiralty Court in England, and which has influenced many countries in the world. The aim of the course is to provide students with a practical and critical knowledge of those aspects of maritime law relating to the running of the ship. The course is essentially in two parts. Part one deals with substantive areas of maritime law, such as the law of collisions, harbour law, pilotage, salvage, towage, general average, seafarer¿s rights, and carriage of passengers. Part two focuses on enforcement of maritime claims through the practice and procedure of the Admiralty Court, including ship arrest, jurisdiction, maritime liens, statutory liens, and limitation of liability.
Although we shall analyse relevant legal concepts from the perspective of English law, the true international character of the course will rapidly become apparent. Many aspects of maritime law have been regulated by international conventions, i.e. the Convention Relating to the Arrest of Sea Going Ships 1952; the International Convention on Salvage 1989; International Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976. This would inevitably mean that rules and problems encountered will be similar in various jurisdictions. For example, rules on salvage will be identical in England/Wales; Canada; China; France; Greece; Germany; India; Italy; Nigeria; Norway; Turkey, as all these countries have implemented the provisions of the Salvage Convention 1989 into their legal system either by accession or ratification.
Artificial Intelligence in Commerce and Legal Practice
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming integral to the fabric of modern society and is already a staple of commercial organisations and businesses looking to enhance their productivity. It has been used for a variety of reasons, such as the reduction of financial paperwork via the electronicisation of commercial payments (that are now regularly made by computer), and increasingly for the incidence of smart contract payments automatically triggered by a payee¿s computer acting in collaboration with the debtor¿s IT systems. Where goods are ordered automatically (e.g. an industrialist¿s computer hooked up to a component supplier¿s server), they can also give rise to the formation of entirely new contracts.
This module will focus on the use of AI within commercial and legal settings. It is often the case that once the technology is put in place issues will arise, such as the question of whether such technology can function within the parameters of existing legal rules. Human rights ¿ even within a commercial framework ¿ must also be considered as part of any analysis concerning the use of AI (notably, for example, the right to privacy).
Overall, this module intends to provide an in-depth analysis of AI in the context of existing private legal rules while also exploring its role in society, what legal frameworks need to be developed.
Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) and Commerce - Law and Regulation
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is an integral part of the emerging digital transformation taking place within commercial and financial industries. It has the potential to dramatically alter the way businesses operate, providing improved efficiency of current client requirements and opening doors for new services.
In simple terms, DLT is a database that is distributed across several independent computing devices (nodes) where changes to data are protected and managed by cryptography and consensus ensuring that data cannot tampered with and that all parties have identical copies that can be considered as a reliable source of truth.
This module intends to analyse the legal position of those employing such ledgers in the context of their businesses. To appreciate the potential legal problems emerging, the applications of such ledgers in different areas of commercial law (finance, insurance, shipping) will be studied. The module will then discuss whether any change in private law rules is required to ensure that such ledgers do not create unexpected consequences for relevant parties. Regulators are also actively exploring the need to regulate the use of such ledgers. Regulation is rather challenging in this area due to potential jurisdictional problems, and overly strict regulation could potentially reduce the commercial values of such ledgers. These issues, along with others, will be discussed as part of this module.