Critical International Economic Law - LW632

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) PROF AJ Perry-Kessaris




Not available to non Law students.



The object of this module is to offer a critical introduction to the legal and theoretical aspects of investments and the globalisation of the world economy. The module considers at the macro-level the legal implications of the changing roles of international economic institutions. This includes an understanding of both the global and regional (European Union, North American Free Trade Agreement) contexts of international economic law. The course pays special attention to the inequities of international trade and seeks to explain the effect of these inequities on the interplay between international and national regulatory frameworks, which is fundamental to an understanding of the globalisation of economic law. It offers a critique of the New International Economic Order beginning in the 1970s. The module offers an overview of the way lawyers and social scientists in the critical legal tradition interpret and conceptualise the changes that are taking place in the global economy such as the judicialisation and autonomisation of trade and investment law. It presents a critical overview of the role that the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF and World Bank) play in the global economy and focuses on efforts to hold multinational companies to account for their activities in developing countries and on selected issues relating to the regulation of international business through codes of conduct. Topics to be covered include: Sources and nature of international economic laws; international economic organizations; the fundamental principles of trade law; subjects of International Economic Law; extraterritorial enforcement of economic law; fragmentation of economic law -the rise of bilateralism; preferential trade agreements (PTAs), bilateral investment treaties (BITs); role of the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF and World Bank) in the global economy; multinational companies and the Law; norm of compensation-for-expropriation; Dispute settlement and sanctions; Feminist legal perspectives to International Economic Law; Alternative visions of development strategies; Most-Favoured-Nation principle and exceptions to Most-Favoured-Nation principle.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars.

Method of assessment

100% coursework consisting on one essay of 6000 words.

Preliminary reading

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will have:

Knowledge and understanding, including an introduction to a range of critical and theoretical perspectives, of international economic law.
Knowledge and understanding of the legal rules governing contracts of investment in international trade.
An introduction to and understanding of the historical and political background of the international economic system.
A critical understanding of the implications of international economic law on north-south relations.
Knowledge and detailed understanding of the principles of international economic law, English law applicable to international sales of goods and related contracts by reference to appropriate primary and secondary sources.
Knowledge and understanding of the impact of relative mobility of capital and labour.
An ability to read and evaluate legal texts and cases and understand their relevance to international trade and cross national business transactions.
An ability to analyse the legal and practical issues that arise from contracts for investment and related contracts.

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.