The LLM in Innovation, Technology and Law offers advanced study of a range of law and law-related subjects, which address the opportunities and risks posed by innovation and new technology.
The programme also offers an opportunity to develop more detailed knowledge, understanding and research skills in a chosen dissertation topic.
This unique degree programme explores the role of the law in regulating and promoting new and emerging technologies. The courses on offer will enable you to examine the legal, ethical and regulatory issues in fields such as:
- information technology
- data protection
- online media and social media platforms
- artificial intelligence
- intellectual property
- medical sciences
The core subjects of the degree provide in-depth knowledge of domains where law engages with technology, laying the foundations for a specialised dissertation.
By the end of your studies will have acquired a sophisticated awareness of the problems that arise in the field of law and technology and the differing approaches to their solution.
Why study innovation, technology and the law?
Digital technologies are increasingly becoming a ubiquitous part of the world we live in. Technological development brings about change at a pace that was unfathomable just a few years ago, and this involves every aspect of our daily lives and our societies:
- the way we communicate;
- the way business transactions are concluded;
- the way the media operate;
- the way artificial intelligence replaces human beings in the workplace and beyond;
- the way personal data is shared, and much more.
As law-makers and regulators around the world strive to grapple with on-going changes, this programme offers a unique opportunity to engage with contemporary questions surrounding the law and policy that govern innovation processes, combining together diverse perspectives from a range of cutting-edge courses.
By the end of your studies for this degree, you will have acquired a sophisticated awareness of the problems that arise in the field of law and technology and the differing approaches to their solution. The degree will also enhance career prospects in the legal profession, in regulatory bodies at the international and domestic level, third sector organisations and within media, IT and creative industries.
This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years . It offers a range of courses from the fields of technology, communications, IP and medical law with an international perspective, giving you the option to tailor the programme to suit your needs and 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 courses (Group A)
You must select between 80 and 120 credits of the following courses:
- Law of E-Commerce (20 credits)
This course aims to provide an in-depth look at the legal issues surrounding electronic commerce, including business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and consumer to consumer (C2C) forms and digital applications to support the sharing economy, creative processes and the public sector.
- The legal challenges of information technologies (20 credits)
This course aims to deliver a challenging perspective on the wide range of legal questions posed by information technologies as they continue to develop; and to provide students with a fresh perspective on law and technologies and an appreciation of the extent to which legal questions must be viewed broadly. After exploring different approaches to regulation and to the protection of rights in software, the course will then consider the ongoing relevance of intellectual property in cyberspace, including peer generated content illegal file sharing and enforcement, and liability for online content in the digital economy.The use of personal data for commercial purposes in the content of social media and other Web 2.0 services will be considered, together with other issues, like cyber crime and cloud computing.
- Data Protection and Information Privacy (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the law relating to data protection and privacy within the UK and EU context. Recent years have seen a heightened awareness of data protection and privacy issues, largely dominated by the introduction of the new EU data protection framework under the GDPR. We are also operating in a world where phrases such as ‘Big data’, ‘Smart cities’, AI and ‘the Internet of Things’ are becoming commonplace and the course will consider whether or not data protection laws are appropriate to cope with the pressures which developments in technology are bringing. The course will focus on the principles at the heart of data protection and examine their application to specific settings. It will also consider how the new EU laws are likely to change the current data protection landscape.
- Communications, networks, and the law (20 credits)
This course covers the regulation of communications networks and services, focusing particularly on the Internet and its most current challenges (e.g. privacy, net neutrality, search engines) taking into account a range of different perspectives from the liberalisation of telecommunications over the course of the 20th century to the rise of communication rights in the information society.
The course will be organised along two main directions: we will first focus on over-arching, cross-cutting questions of these days, such as policy and regulatory rationales of communications law and the interplay between national and supra-national decision-making institutions, and then move on to cover a number of specific themes among the most widely discussed within both the academic and practitioner fields such as price control, social and universal service obligation, separation and new entry, technological neutrality (e.g. between wired and wireless), cross-border agreements, and consumer protection.
The course will take a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach exploring perspectives on the communications industries from other disciplines (particularly the relationship between law and innovation and between communication technologies and society) and the interaction between communications law and other forms of regulation (e.g. competition, media, trade).
- International and European Media Law (20 credits)
This course will examine the impact of International and European law on, firstly, the structure of media markets and, secondly, the content of media services. The course will start with a discussion of the nature of the media, the media ‘value chain’, and the relationship between media freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights. It will examine the various international organisations competent in the media field and the regulatory strategies that are being adopted to deal with media convergence and globalisation. In relation to structural matters, consideration will be given to consolidation of media ownership and state funding of the media, in particular public service broadcasting. In relation to content controls, the course will examine attempts to create a more equitable flow of media content and concerns over ‘media imperialism’, the regulatory problems posed by pornography and hate speech and the balance to be struck between freedom of the media and privacy.
You will attain a good understanding of the interplay between domestic and international law in this field, as well as the role of soft law and self or private regulation. You will also be encouraged to think about the future role of law and regulation in a rapidly changing media environment.
- Robotics, AI and the Law (20 credits)
The course introduces you to the legal and wider regulatory issues raised by the increasing use of automated and autonomous devices. As we increasingly allow machines to make decisions for us, this raises significant problems for our legal concepts of liability, responsibility legal personhood.
In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the specific legal issues that are created by a number of particularly important applications of robotics and autonomous agent technology, you will also acquire a generic understanding of the types of problems that are raised by autonomous technologies for the theory of regulation. You will gain an understanding of the limits of regulation by law and the ability to evaluate comparatively other modes of regulation for a given problem.
- Law and New Technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Risk and the Law 2 (20 credits)
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change the way law operates and with that also the future of the law firm Some commentators, prominent amongst them Richard Susskind, have anticipated for decades major changes in the value chain that law firms produce. This course introduces key technologies that have the potential to impact on the way lawyers operate in practice, with a focus on the issue of digital evidence and computer forensics.
Optional courses (Group B)
You can select between 0 and 40 credits from the following courses:
- Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (20 credits)
This course serves as a foundation for critical analytical engagement with the core features of the discipline of medical jurisprudence, being the relationship between law and ethics in the provision of healthcare, the influence of human rights on medical practice, the importance of consent, confidentiality and medical negligence in shaping the contours of the doctor/patient relationship, as well as issues at the start and end of life, such as assisted reproduction and assisted dying. Where appropriate, comparative legal analysis will further inform discussion and debate.
- Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (20 credits)
This course is designed to engage students with current live issues arising in the field of medical jurisprudence, being a disciplines which sits at the cross-roads between law, medicine and ethics and is concerned primarily with legal and social responses to advanced in medicine, healthcare and related technologies. The course is deliberately designed to be open and responsive to issues that are current at the time of delivery in any given year.
- Medical Negligence (10 credits)
This course provides a detailed exploration of the law of medical negligence. It is designed to equip students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of relevant case law. It also aims to develop skills in using the case law effectively by formulating reasoned and persuasive arguments for or against particular legal propositions. Whilst focussing on the law in the UK, the course will have a strong comparative dimension. The medical negligence action will be viewed in its social, economic and political context and students will be encouraged to reflect critically on the various factors driving law and policy in this area.
- Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society (10 credits)
This course considers the ethics of biotechnology and the life sciences. It begins by giving the student an ethics toolbox with which to approach, analyse and assess current bioethical controversies and discourses. It then addresses specific topics to further explore ethical issues arising from biotechnology and its uses, as well as an exercise to explore crucial ethical concepts and arguments. Finally, in an age of moral pluralism, it can be difficult for stakeholders to secure social consensus on how new biotechnologies should be controlled and exploited. As a result, the regulation of biotechnology has often been a site of sharp disagreement. This module will also examine how the bioethical discussion feeds into the regulatory and governance considerations of biotechnology.
- Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices (20 credits)
This course provides a detailed exploration of risk and its regulation, examining how regulatory frameworks are shaped and/or respond to new and emerging human activities, many of which rely on or prompt new modes of action, new technologies, new relationships, and, importantly, new risks. Focusing on biomedical case studies in the second half of the course, it explores different regulatory theories, instruments and institutions – legal and non-legal, domestic, regional and international – that govern and shape individual and organisational conduct.
Optional courses (Group C)
You can select between 0 and 20 credits of the following courses:
- Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the law relating to copyright, design rights, database right, and performers’ rights within their institutional setting at international, European and national level.
Recent years have witnessed an expansion in the scope of intellectual property rights, and having examined the institutional setting in which policy is formed, the reach and impact of these rights within the UK will be analysed.
The teaching sessions will also highlight areas of particular topicality.
- Intellectual Property Law 2: Industrial Property (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the laws relating to patents, trade marks, passing off, and breach of confidence. Noting the international framework and context, the focus will be on European and UK law.
Recent years have witnessed an expansion in the scope of these intellectual property rights. This course will examine in detail the law on subsistence/entitlement to protection, infringement and defences for all of the relevant rights, alongside discussion of wider policy, economic and other considerations.
The sessions will also highlight areas of particular topicality.
Optional course (Everyone 20 credits)
Fundamental Issues in International Law
International Environmental Law
Criminal Justice and Penal Process
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
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
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
We require a minimum USA 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in law. We will also consider candidates with a USA 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a social science subject.
Applicants with a degree from a USA country other than the USA
If you have a non-USA degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.
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 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) and/or to apply for University accommodation.
Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.
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.
- 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