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Course Overview



The LLM in Commercial Law offers you the opportunity to study commercial law subjects at an advanced level, drawing on the latest research of our leading academics. It provides an excellent grounding for those intending to enter legal practice, pursue a career in the commercial sector, or continue on to future study and research in commercial law.


You will benefit from the opportunity to explore a wide range of subjects at an advanced level and study the law in the fast-paced and varied context of the commercial world.

The programme offers a wide range of subjects that deal with various aspects of commercial law enabling you to tailor the LLM to meet your specific interests. Subjects may include:

  • Company law
  • Contract law in Europe
  • Insolvency law
  • EU competition law
  • Principles of corporate finance
Why study commercial law?

The LLM in Commercial Law is relevant to lawyers and business professionals, giving you an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of commercial law.

The programme is designed for those intending to pursue a career in:

  • legal practice and wish to specialise in commercial law, tax law, or international trade law
  • the commercial sector and international commercial organisations in fields such as compliance

The LLM is also an ideal platform for advanced research and those wishing to go onto further postgraduate study, such as a PhD.



This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years . It offers a range of subjects across the field of commercial, corporate, and banking law from an international perspective, allowing you to tailor a programme to suit your interests.

The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits.  Full programme details are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.


Core Commercial Law courses

You can select between 80 and 120 credits of the following courses:


  • Company Law (40 credits, full-year course)

    This course aims to give you a broad understanding of United Kingdom corporate law, including current changes; where appropriate, reference will be made to the position in Europe. The course seeks to develop awareness of the interaction between theory and practice, and the complex issues involved in balancing the needs of business and the community.


  • Contract Law in Europe (40 credits, full-year course)

    The aim of this course is to examine the law of contract from a comparative perspective. Reference will be made to civilian and common law systems (including mixed systems) and, in particular, the laws of Scotland, England, France, and Germany. You will critically consider major themes, spanning the life of a contract, in these jurisdictions. Students will be asked to consider whether there are significant differences between the common law and civilian systems or whether the differences are more apparent than real. The use of supra-national and harmonisation initiatives will also be discussed.


  • European Labour Law (20 credits)

    The course is designed to introduce you to  Social Policy,  Labour Law, and the overall importance of European Social Policy to the European Programme. This will include an overview of a range of topics which comprise the subject of European Labour Law, including European equal treatment law, European equal pay law, family-friendly policies, the protection of part-time and fixed-term employees, the regulation of working time, and the safeguards for employees on the restructuring of an undertaking. This course is particularly suitable if you are intending to practice employment law as a practicing lawyer, work as a human resources professional, or work in-house as a practicing lawyer for a company.


  • Insolvency Law (20 credits)

    This course examines selected issues of insolvency law, including personal and corporate insolvency. The course will primarily focus on law within the United Kingdom and will take an advanced look at a variety of topics. Theoretical and comparative law material from a variety of systems (in Europe and the Anglo-American tradition) will be used to examine the subjects studied.


  • The Law of International Trade (20 credits)

    This course examines the legal aspects of international trade in a broad context. The legal framework of the course is English law as well as the relevant international conventions and standard terms. The course examines international sale of goods which are transported by sea. It investigates the trade terms used in international sale contracts (in the context of English common law and Incoterms in particular) and analyses the resulting obligations of the parties regarding payment methods (with emphasis on letters of credit and bills of exchange), transportation of the goods (focusing on bills of lading and waybills), and marine cargo insurance in the manner in which these relate to one another.


  • Principles of Corporate Finance Law (20 credits)

    The course is designed to introduce you to the general principles of insurance law in the UK. This will include an overview of a range of topics which comprise the subject of insurance law, including insurable interest, the law of misrepresentation, breach of warranty, non-disclosure of material facts, the indemnity principle, subrogation, the proximate cause principle and European Insurance Law. Where relevant, the course will distinguish between English law and Scots law. This course is particularly suitable for students who would like to understand the principles and rules that regulate the insurance and reinsurance industries and insurance brokers and agents. This is particularly important in the context of international trade, carriage of goods by air, rail, sea, and road as well as in respect of shipping and admiralty.

Optional commercial law courses

You can select between 0 and 40 credits of the following courses:


  • Comparative and International Trust Law (20 credits)

    The aim of this course is to examine the notion of ‘trust’ from a functional perspective. It explores the essential nature of trusts, as well as their core features across a number of jurisdictions. The course is not limited to any particular system of trust law, but is international and comparative in its approach. The trust jurisdictions considered include England, the United States of America, selected ‘offshore’ jurisdictions, mixed legal systems (e.g. Scotland, South Africa, and Quebec), and civil law systems, such as, for instance, France and Germany. European harmonisation projects and other international trust instruments will also be considered. This course does not require any previous knowledge of trust law. However, it does presuppose a basic knowledge of the law of obligations, of property law, of succession law, of insolvency law, and of international private law. It also presupposes familiarity with basic comparative methodologies as well as a basic understanding of the two major legal traditions examined, the civil and the common law.


  • EU Competition Law (40 credits)

    The purpose of the course is to impart to students an understanding of the rationale behind competition regulation in the European Union, the substantive and procedural rules which comprise EU competition law, and their place within the scheme of the Treaties – they being ‘fundamental provision[s] – essential to the accomplishment of the tasks entrusted to the [Union] and, in particular, the functioning of the internal market’ (Case C-126/97 Eco Swiss China Time v Benetton International [1999] ECR I-3055, para 36).

    It is the private law side of Union integration and a mirror of the law of the internal market – put otherwise, the commercial law of the EU. Appropriate comparisons with the equivalent laws of the member states, in particular those of Germany (the GWB) and the United Kingdom (the Competition Act 1998; the Enterprise Act 2002), will be drawn throughout the course.


  • Fundamentals of Comparative Private Law (20 credits)

    The growing permeability of frontiers, the openness of national economies and societies, has a deep impact on the evolution of the law, as legal concepts and principles flow across borders. Anyone envisaging a career with an international dimension will need to engage not just with foreign laws and foreign legal concepts, but will also be confronted with different legal cultures. It is therefore crucial to be familiar with the opportunities but also the difficulties that arise when stepping outside one’s own legal system. The aim of this course is to provide students with a general introduction to the basics and the methodology of comparative law, and to equip them with the tools necessary to conduct comparative analysis. It further introduces student to the historical developments of the major legal traditions and their respective styles. The course therefore offers an ideal foundation for students who want to study core areas of private law across both civil and common law jurisdictions.


  • International Private Law: Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments (20 credits)

    This course deals with civil jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments, issues which have been central to recent developments within International Private Law. It will consider the provisions contained in  instruments, focusing on the Brussels I bis Regulation but also looking at the Insolvency Regulation and Brussels II bis Regulation. The course will also examine proposals for reform of these instruments. In addition there will be consideration of appropriate Hague Private International Law Conventions, especially the Choice of Court Convention and the current work of the Hague Conference in the field of recognition and enforcement of judgments.

Optional course (Everyone 20 credits)
Company Law
Fundamental Issues in International Law
International Environmental Law
Criminal Justice and Penal Process
Theoretical Criminology
Contract Law in Europe
Mental Health and Crime
Law and the Enlightenment
Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights
Intellectual Property Law 2: Industrial Property
International Investment Law
International Law of the Sea
Law of E-Commerce
The legal challenges of information technologies
International Intellectual Property System
Data Protection and Information Privacy
International Private Law: Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law
International Commercial Arbitration (one semester)
The Anatomy of Public Law
EU Competition Law
International Criminal Law (one semester)
Inter-state Conflict and Humanitarian Law
The Law of International Trade
International Law of the Marine Environment
Delict and Tort
Comparative and International Trust law
International Climate Change Law
Sexual Offending and the Law
Comparative Corporate Governance
Corporation Law and Economics
Regulation of international Finance: the Law, the Economics, the Politics
Global Crime and Insecurity
Responding to Global Crime and Insecurity
European Labour Law
Insolvency Law
Communications, networks, and the law
Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
Practice of Corporate Finance and the Law
Practice of International Banking and the Law
International Human Rights Law
Human Rights Law in Europe
Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence
Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence
Reasoning with Precedent
Medical Negligence
International and European Media Law
Principles of Corporate Finance Law
Family Law in Comparative Perspectives
The Law of Secured Finance
Criminological Research Methods
Advanced Issues in International Economic Law
General Principles of Criminal Law
Current Issues in Criminal Law
Intellectual Property Law, Innovation and Creativity
Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society
Natural Law: An Historical Introduction
Robotics, AI and the Law
European Law Moot Court
Brexit: Withdrawal from the European Union
Fundamentals of Comparative Private Law
Governance of Innovative Medicine
Contemporary Issues in Exploiting Intellectual Property
Advanced Comparative Constitutional Law
Advanced Issues in Human Rights
Fundamentals in Bioethics
Public Health Ethics and Law
Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices
International Investment Arbitration: Theory and Practice
WTO Law 1
WTO Law 2
Trusts across the Common Law World
Human Rights Clinic
Theories of the International Legal Order
Prisons and Places of Confinement
Genocide and the Law
The Integrity of the EU’s Internal Market
Child Law in Comparative Perspectives
The EU’s Changing Constitution

Entry requirements


For September 2019 entry we require a minimum 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in an appropriate subject such as law or social science. We will also consider candidates with a degree in a related discipline which includes relevant prior study. Entry to this programme is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.

For September 2020 entry we will require a minimum 2:1 honours degree from a UK university, or its international equivalent, in law. We will also consider candidates with a degree in a related discipline which includes relevant prior study. Entry to this programme is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.


Applicants with a degree from a UK country other than the UK

If you have a non-UK degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.

Check your degree

English language requirements

Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.

Students whose first language is not English must therefore show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module).
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module).
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the Communicative Skills sections).
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module).
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III (with a pass in all four components).

Your English language certificate must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

We also accept an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration . The UK Government’s website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.

View the UKVI list of majority English speaking countries

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about the University’s English language requirements

Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.

How to apply


We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for students holding conditional offers (for example, you may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test) and for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements (for further, country-specific information, please consult the website of the Northampton University’s ) and/or to apply for University accommodation.


Documentation required

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, 

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes (please upload the full transcript showing results from all years of study).
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

After you apply

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
  • The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

    Northampton University admissions terms and conditions