2020/21 Full-time Postgraduate course
Master of Laws
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Law
The LLM in International Commercial Law and ADR offers modules that are at the cutting-edge of industry and will lead to a professional accreditation.
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This LLM degree programme is relevant to both aspiring and current legal and business professionals wishing to gain specialisation and enhance career opportunities in Commercial Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It has been developed in consultation with industry experts and in response to their employment needs.
Undertaking this unique LLM programme will not only provide the opportunity to explore the theories of commercial conflict resolution with an emphasis on mediation, but, by virtue of the input and expertise of our chosen industry partners, will enable students to develop practical skills in negotiation and provide the opportunity to become a fully accredited mediator, presenting a wealth of opportunities for career progression in this area of professional practice.
Incorporated within the LLM is a module entitled Commercial Mediation which will be delivered and accredited by Mediation Northern Ireland training course. This qualification is also accredited by the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN) equating to an NVQ Level 3 or an Advanced Diploma and is one of the recognized qualifications for mediators in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
Students will gain a fundamental understanding of the core principles of commercial law examining current developments in areas such as financial markets and derivatives, commercial property law and international intellectual property law. The modules available draw on the strengths of experts on the field and feature input from senior practitioners from relevant industry sectors.
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This programme provides an excellent grounding for those intending to pursue a career in commercial law or related business fields at both domestic and international level. The LLM is also an ideal platform for advanced research, including doctoral study, in Commercial Law.
Why study this course?
Attendance at lectures and seminar sessions is compulsory.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
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Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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This module introduces students to the nature of conflict and disputes; considers the various options for dispute resolution including, in particular, adjudication, arbitration and mediation; and will provide students with a foundational knowledge of ADR which can then be developed in their professional practice. Specifically, this module provides a foundation for the subsequent Mediation module.
This module will provide a solid basis for acquiring knowledge and understanding and developing analyses of the key concepts, problems and issues in the area of commercial law. The theories, principles and rules of commercial law will be examined with reference to European and international developments. It will examine and evaluate the key features of commercial law from both a theoretical and practical perspective.
This module, offered in partnership between Ulster University and Mediation Northern Ireland will allow students to consider the nature of conflict, to explore the process of mediation and experience the role of mediator. As well as constituting a module of study assessed by the University this module, when fully completed, also covers the content of "Mediation Theory & Practice" - a Mediation Northern Ireland training course accredited by the Open College Network Northern Ireland as a Level 3 course earning 9 credit points. "Mediation Theory & Practice" equates to an NVQ Level 3 or an Advanced Diploma and is one of the recognized qualifications for mediators in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Successful completion of this module will (subject to particular criteria specified by Mediation Northern Ireland and formally agreed between the student and Mediation Northern Ireland) entitle students to also apply, via submission of an additional learning portfolio, to Mediation Northern Ireland for this recognised professional qualification.
This module spans a range of contemporary issues spanning law and technology. It covers basics of intellectual property (copyright, marks, patent and software licensing) as well as basic principles of artificial intelligence (machine learning and natural language processing) as they apply to the practice of law. In addition, the module covers privacy, encryption, Internet law (telecommunications law, conflict of laws, free speech, safe harbour) as well as providing several practical lessons with software applications/platforms used in the professional legal marketplace.
This module, offered in association between Ulster University and Fieldfisher LLP's Belfast and London offices, guides students through the key areas of financial markets trading and regulation with a specific emphasis on derivatives and securities financing. Students will consider, in particular, master agreements used for a variety of transactions in cross border markets. This module not only equips students with underpinning knowledge of relevant aspects of the law but also provides key opportunities to directly engage in case studies based on the type of practical work undertaken by an experienced financial services practice.
The dissertation module is designed to enable students to develop and apply the demonstrable research skills in the form of independent research leading to 12,000 words dissertation on a topic of choice in commercial-law related fields. Students would be advised to choose their research topics in areas for which there are supervision expertise within the school of law.
This module is optional
The effective and efficient running of small businesses (and their establishment) requires students to understand a number of concepts, principles and rules of law in such areas as contract, tort, employment, intellectual property and franchising, as well as close familiarity with the nature, structure and key characteristics of the legal system in which such businesses operate. In addition, students will also need to acquire certain skills, such as those of instant recall, critical analysis, argumentation and articulation, and the ability to apply legal concepts and principles to practical problems or to refer such problems to appropriate dispute resolution methods. This module provides the necessary information, knowledge and intellectual equipment to acquire such knowledge and skills.
This module is optional
This module guides students through the key areas of acquisition, development and letting of land for business purposes. Students will consider, in particular, site acquisition both by means of conveyance and through the application of compulsory purchase powers by public authorities, commercial development in the context of the planning system and the law relating to business tenancies. This module not only equips students with underpinning knowledge of relevant aspects of the law but also provides key opportunities to directly engage in case studies based on the type of practical work undertaken by an experienced commercial practice.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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A minimum of a second class lower degree (2.2) in law or relevant cognate degree with an element of law or other relevant modules.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Will be considered on a case by case basis.
Typically we require applicant for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree (usually in a relevant subject area). Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus. We consider students who have good grades in the following:
Typically, we require applicants for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree.
Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus.
The comparable US qualifications are as follows:
UK 2:1 Degree - Bachelor degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 out of 4
UK 2:2 Degree - Bachelor degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.6 out of 4
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• Commercial Law Practice
• Dispute Resolution Practioner
• Finance & Banking
• Intellectual Property Law
• International Trade Law
• Accredited mediator
The Clever, Fulton and Rankin Prize for Outstanding Achievement: This prize is awarded to the top 4 performing students within this module with each student being granted an Internship with the practice.
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Fees illustrated are based on 20/21 entry and are subject to an annual increase.
Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.
Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
To find out more about fees related to this course please visit:
Northern Ireland & EU: £6,370.00
There are opportunities for internships across the porgramme. Cleaver, Fulton and Rankin will award an internship prize to the top performing students on the Commercial ADR module. This will consist of work experience for the prize-winners with the firm and an opportunity to meet with partners and solicitors in the firm.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Mr John Keers BL
Cleaver Fulton Rankinas a leading Northern Ireland commercial law firm are delighted to be associated with Ulster University’s practically focused Commercial Law Masters programme. We are convinced that those who complete the programme will be much better equipped to move into the professional setting of a commercial firm.
Mr Aaron Moore, Solicitor and Director at Cleaver Fulton Rankin:
As a development agency for mediation, with twenty seven years of field experience, we are delighted to partner with Ulster University's Commercial Law LLM. Ulster University has a reputation for exceptional outreach combined with innovative thinking and this mediation training will significantly shape Northern Ireland’s ADR field. That is good news for the citizens of NI and for everyone committed to justice. The coming years will bring unprecedented commercial challenges and the need for skilled mediators, who can resolve disputes efficiently, effectively, and ethically will be greater than ever.
Ms Mary Lynch, Director at Mediation Northern Ireland