LLM Research Projects
The research projects form Part II of all LL.M. programmes and is an opportunity to engage in extended research on two aspects of the scheme¿s syllabus
Carriage of Goods by Sea, Land and Air
Goods are carried all over the world by different modes of transport ¿ by land, rail, sea and air. This module analyses the issues that arise in relation to each form of transportation.
In most cases, cargo is carried purely by one mode of transport (unimodal transport). For example, bulk cargoes are generally carried solely by sea and such carriage is subject to compulsory international regimes which are intended to regulate that mode of carriage i.e. the Hague, Hague-Visby and Hamburg Rules. Similarly, high value cargoes and pharmaceuticals are generally carried solely by air and are compulsorily subject to the Warsaw/Montreal Conventions. However, it is also common for goods to be carried in the one receptacle but by different modes of transport e.g. one container may be carried by road, rail, sea and air (multimodal transport). Such form of carriage gives rise to difficulties since whilst separate conventions apply to individual legs of the carriage, there is no one international convention which applies to the whole of such carriage.
This module is designed to analyse the different features and characteristics of the different forms of contract of carriage that are currently used in relation to both unimodal and multi modal transport, the problems that may be faced when cargo carried under such contracts is lost or damaged and the part played by the current international regimes i.e. the Hague, Hague-Visby and Hamburg Rules in relation to carriage by sea, the Warsaw/Montreal Conventions in relation to carriage by air, CMR in relation to carriage by road and CIM/COTIF in relation to carriage by rail. The module also considers multi-modal contracts of carriages, which are not subject to any international regime. Finally, this module examines several contemporary difficulties which arise both in relation to the nature of bailment contracts and the practicalities of cargo claims.
International Commercial Arbitration
International commercial disputes that cannot be otherwise resolved are customarily referred to arbitration. As such, a global network of arbitration organizations and international institutions exist to address references to arbitration. The module examines the arbitration structures which exist to resolve international disputes in the context of commercial arbitration and the associated questions of private international law. The module also examines disputes between foreign investors and host States and in particular looks into the system of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) which enables foreign investors to act directly against the host State where the investment was made. This part of the module introduces the international law relating to foreign investments and discusses the different dispute resolution mechanisms that can be invoked to resolve relevant disputes.
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.
Employability Skills in the Commercial and Maritime Industry
This module provides LLM students with the key skills that are required to succeed in degree level study in the discipline of maritime and commercial law. This module provides practical guidance in written and oral communication skills necessary to succeed in the careers following the completion of the LLM. Students are introduced to the skills needed in applying for jobs and/or moving forward in a career path, including how to recognise and make the most of experience, learning, and knowledge and how to promote themselves effectively, including ways of qualifying as a practicing lawyer in England & Wales. The module is supported by outside speakers who share their expertise with our LLM students, give them an insight of their commercial and maritime practice.
The Law of Marine Insurance
This module introduces the foundations and basic concepts of the law of marine property insurance, i.e. the insurance of ships, cargoes and freight. The law considered is predominantly English law, although it is of international relevance for two reasons. First, principles of English marine insurance law are to be found in many Commonwealth jurisdictions and is recognised as authority in the United States. Secondly, forms used in London Insurance market are to be found in 2/3 of the world¿s markets (according to the UNCTAD) and the US forms show marked similarities. English marine insurance law is based upon the Marine Insurance Act 1906 as modified by the Insurance Act 2015. Most provisions of the Act, however, are frequently subject to contrary agreement between the parties and the Act does not address the perils against which cover is provided. Accordingly, considerable emphasis is placed on the standard clauses of the International Underwriting Association of London where much of the substance of modern marine insurance contracts is to be found. Throughout the module, the respective positions, rights and duties of assureds and insurers are analysed, as also are the concepts of indemnity, subrogation and co-insurance.
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.