International Trade Law - LW898

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
(version 3)
Spring 7 20 (10) checkmark-circle


The intellectual and institutional history of international economic law has aptly been described in one phrase-'From politics to technocracy- and back again.' The separation of economic development from political issues, upon which policymaking in the World Bank and the IMF is largely based, is coming under increasing criticism. GATT/WTO law has developed into a highly contentious set of institutions, rules and principles delineating 'acceptable' forms of economic regulation from ‘unacceptable’ ones. This module will trace these developments, and provide a thorough grounding in the institutions, rules and principles of international economic policymaking. The module will also discuss the proliferation of bilateral and regional preferential trade agreements in terms of its impact on both the multilateral trading system and on the separation of trade and investment issues from political considerations. Lastly, the module will occupy itself with the rise of investment treaty arbitration and the migration of fundamental concepts and principles of trade law to investment law.



Spring Term

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by 100% coursework in the form of a written essay of no more than 5,000 words.

The essay title may be chosen from a list provided by the convenor during the term. Alternatively, students will be encouraged to devise their own essay topic within the subject-matter of the module, and in consultation with the convenor.

Indicative reading

• Matthias Herdegen, Principles of International Economic Law (OUP 2013)
• Simon Lester et al., World Trade Law: Text, Materials and Commentary (Hart, 2nd ed., 2012)
• Michael Trebilcock et al., The Regulation of International Trade (Routledge, 4th ed., 2013)

Additional reading will be varied and include rulings, official documents, textbook and monograph commentary and journal articles. All of this material is easily accessible in the Library, and/or will be made available to students for purchase for the cost of photocopying. Where possible, students will also be given references to electronic sources.

Students will also be provided with recommended reading lists for all parts of the module, based on material available to them in the Library or by electronic means. This will be of particular relevance to the writing of essays.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

- Knowledge and understanding of the major institutions, rules and principles of international economic law.
- Knowledge and understanding of the theoretical debates and academic controversies surrounding the proliferation of bilateral and regional preferential trade agreements.
- Knowledge and understanding of the developing relationship between international trade law and international investment law.
- The ability to place issues of international economic law in its proper economic and political context.
- An awareness of the historical and ideological underpinnings of international economic law.
- Present relevant knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned and supported argument through seminar discussion and coursework;
- Develop and apply their knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned supported argument through seminar discussion and assessment;
- Carry out thorough research analysing various points of view and using wide sources.
- Express themselves to a high standard in a coherent written form as well as orally in the context of seminar discussion, with appropriate use of citation, and by the use of computer word processing.
- Find relevant primary and secondary material for research in hard copy and through electronic sources.
- Undertake further appropriate training or research in the field.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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