Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module LAW41530: International Commercial Dispute Resolution

Department: Law

LAW41530: International Commercial Dispute Resolution

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to M1K116
Tied to M1K316
Tied to M1K616


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module aims to introduce to legal issues concerning different methods of resolving disputes in international commercial practice. It requires students to consider and reflect upon topics relating to arbitration, conciliation and mediation. Students will develop an appreciation of their relative advantages and disadvantages, both in comparison with each other and in comparison with the resolution of disputes through ordinary judicial means.


  • The content of the module will typically be:
  • The relative advantages and disadvantages of the judicial resolution of disputes
  • The availability of arbitration as an alternative to judicial resolution
  • The international and domestic legal framework of arbitration: jurisdiction and scope of the arbitrator
  • The effect of arbitration and the possibility of limiting the jurisdiction of the courts
  • The legal and commercial framework of conciliation and mediation

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will develop an understanding of the complexities of the law relating to dispute resolution, with a specific focus on arbitration, mediation and conciliation in international commerce.
  • Students will be able to weigh the practical advantages and disadvantages of different methods of dispute resolution.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will learn how to use materials from international conventions and domestic law on dispute resolution.
Key Skills:
  • understanding of complex materials
  • ability to describe accurately and comprehensibly the arguments and analysis of other commentators
  • ability to evaluate critically the arguments of others

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught through seminar classes; students will be required to do advanced reading so as to be able to engage in discussion. Students will progressively acquire the knowledge necessary to engage in a more sophisticated analysis of the problems under consideration and to critically assess both primary sources (legislation, case law, treaties) and secondary sources (scholarship, reports etc). The module will be assessed by means of one 6000-word essay, which will be based on common themes developed in the seminars, and will require independent research. The formative essay will support the skills required for the summative essay.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 15 Periodically 2hrs 30
Preparation and reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative essay 6000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

One formative essay of 1000 - 2000 words

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University