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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: International Civil and Commercial Litigation (LAWS10195)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is aimed at giving students a working knowledge of the framework and dynamics of international civil and commercial litigation. The course will consider many of the issues that will need to be addressed by companies and individuals when faced with litigation involving cross-border elements. The approach to the regulation of cross-border disputes varies in different jurisdictions and the questions of which court has jurisdiction to hear a case and which law will be applied to the determination of that case depend to a large extent on which set of rules results applicable to the case. This course will consider international, regional and national approaches in relation to questions of jurisdiction, applicable law and international judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters. It will provide an opportunity to visualise how some key aspects of international litigation work in practice in some of the most popular judicial systems with vast expertise in international civil and commercial litigation, such as England. Hence, this course is not limited to the study of international civil and commercial litigation in the Scottish courts but provides a window into the practice of international litigation in popular hubs for international legal practice.
Course description The course aims to develop the students¿ knowledge and understanding of the legal instruments applicable to the determination of civil and commercial jurisdiction, applicable law in contract and delict, the nuances of multi-party disputes in the international civil and commercial context, and the ingenuity of international legal practice in different jurisdictions to manage the challenges posed by legal diversity in this context. Additionally, the course aims to raise the students¿ awareness of the increasing internationalisation of legal practice and when appropriate consider alternative approaches to these matters from different jurisdictions.

Participants in the course will be able to study the following core topics:

1. The Dynamics of Cross-Border Litigation
1.1. Litigation in the wider context of dispute resolution mechanisms
1.2. Primary issues informing the process of resolving cross-border disputes
1.3. Procedural justice and procedural efficiency

2. Jurisdiction in Civil and Commercial Litigation
2.1. What is jurisdiction in this context?
2.2. Conflicts of jurisdiction

2.3. The European Regime of Jurisdiction in Civil and Commercial Matters

3. A different approach to Jurisdiction: The English Traditional Rules

3.1. Service in the jurisdiction
3.2. Service out of the jurisdiction

4. Choice of Law
4.1. Introduction to choice of law
4.2. Why apply foreign law?
4.3. Choice of law in contract
4.4. Choice of law in delict
4.5. Contractual rights and property interests: the situs of debts in international private law

5. Party Autonomy in International Litigation
5.1. Choice of court agreements
5.2. Choice of law clauses
5.3. Asymmetric agreements
5.4. Limitations to party autonomy and weaker parties

6. Multi-party disputes
6.1. Special scenarios: e.g. cargo claims, product liability claims
6.2. Special procedural mechanisms: e.g. counter-claims, joinder and consolidation
6.3. Special problems with overlapping and/or inconsistent choice of law and choice of court agreements

7. Procedural Devices
7.1. Provisional and protective measures
7.2. Freezing assets
7.3. Enforceability of provisional measures in the EU

8. International Judicial Co-operation
8.1. Service of process
8.2. Obtaining evidence abroad
8.3. Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

The course will be taught by a series of seminars covering these topics in depth and with detailed analysis of leading cases mainly in Scots and English law, but also including well-known leading cases in other jurisdictions: e.g. jurisdictions in the United States and other European legal systems. The students will be required to undertake reading in advance of the seminars and at times apply the legal rules to previously given problem scenarios. Students will also be expected to give short presentations on specific issues in a number of seminars. By the end of the course students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the basics of international civil and commercial litigation including jurisdiction and applicable law rules regarding contracts and delict in the EU; a good knowledge of legal doctrines and devices crafted to suit the needs of international litigation, covering procedural aspects; and the ability to understand the practice of international litigation in the wider context of international commercial dispute resolution mechanisms available to private parties within the civil and commercial context.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Students should have a basic knowledge of Private International Law or Conflict of Laws.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework

There are two different components of assessment:
(1) A final essay worth 80% of the overall course mark. It is to be 4,000 words in length. It is to be submitted within the relevant exam diet dates.
(2) Class participation will account for 20% of the overall course final mark. It will be marked according to the 4 Scale Grading Criterion. The mark will be upscaled to be used as a component of the overall mark.
Grade Criteria
0 Absent and un-condoned (A)
1 Present and not disruptive. No constructive interaction with peers. Does not demonstrate preparedness or participate. Comments vague or irrelevant or not based on the assigned materials. Responds when called on but offers very little.
2 Some interaction with peers but preparedness and participation are incomplete. When prepared, participation is constructive, relevant and based on the assigned materials. Group dynamic is not affected by student's presence.
3 Makes sincere effort to interact with peers. Evidently prepared on most aspects of the session and plays an active role in discussions. Comments occasionally advance the level of and depth of the dialogue.«br /»
Group dynamic and level of discussion are somewhat better because of the student's presence.
4 Actively supports, engages and listens to peers. Fully prepared and plays an active role in discussions. Comments consistently advance the level of and depth of the dialogue. Group dynamic and level of discussion are consistently better because of the student's presence.
Feedback Summative assessment: 80% final 4000 words essay on a topic of choice from a pre-determined list plus 20% class participation.
Formative feedback: In addition to the summative assessment a written formative exercise will be distributed during week 5 for submission on or before the seminar in week 8. Although the exercise is not compulsory all students will be strongly encouraged to do it. Feedback on the exercise will be given out during the seminar in week 10 together with more general feedback of participation and engagement during the course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. The course has the general learning objectives of developing deep knowledge and critical understanding of the dynamics of cross-border litigation in civil and commercial matters in an EU and wider comparative context. In attaining this objective the following skills and abilities will be utilised and enhanced: (a) Using primary and secondary legal materials; (b) Deploying practical reasoning and argument; (c) Appreciation of the law in its social and historical contexts; (d) Evaluation and criticism of the law; (e) Research, gaining knowledge and understanding which may be applied and adapted in future; and (f) Development of the following transferable skills: (i) communication skills, oral and in writing; (ii) intellectual skills, of collecting, organising, evaluating, synthesising and presenting material and arguments, and including the ability to question assumptions, to frame and test hypotheses, to detect fallacies and to think autonomously; (iii) general skills, in managing time, working independently, and taking personal responsibility for work
  2. Demonstrate extensive knowledge and critical understanding of the particular topic under consideration, i.e., of principles of multi-state litigation from a national, comparative, and EU perspective: demonstrate critical understanding of the problems involved, the primary importance of jurisdiction, and the different approaches between English law and Scots law in civil and commercial litigation in relation to non-European domiciled defendants.
  3. Demonstrate abilities to apply knowledge, skills and understanding: the ability to apply the rules and principles to hypothetical cases or scenarios involving cross-border civil and commercial disputes.
  4. Demonstrate abilities to conduct legal research and communicate it effectively, assessed by the final essay, and the ability to work both independently and as a team member, assessed and encouraged with the evaluation of class participation and presentations as contributing to the overall mark obtained in the course.
Reading List
Articles from specialised legal journals will be indicated in the reading list for each seminar. The following books are going to be useful throughout the course:

T Hartley, International Commercial Litigation, Text, Cases and Materials on Private International Law (2nd ed, CUP 2015)
R Fentiman, International Commercial Litigation (2nd ed, OUP 2015)
D McClean and V Ruiz Abou-Nigm, Morris on The Conflict of Laws (9th edn, Sweet & Maxwell, 2016)
P Beaumont & P McEleavy, Anton's Private International Law (3rd edn, 2012)
Dicey, Morris & Collins, The Conflict of Laws, (15th edn, 2012) together with its Supplements (2014, 2015, 2016).
A Briggs, The Conflict of Laws (3rd edn, 2013)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Generic cognitive skills
Students will develop their research abilities and skills
in respect of: use of legal materials and legal reasoning;
appreciation of law in its context; evaluation and
critique of legal approaches; independent legal research (finding, organising, evaluating and synthesising materials and arguments).

2. Communication skills
Students will be expected to develop their written
communication skills through writing essays (formative and summative), and the opportunity to receive feedback in both occasions; and to develop their oral communication skills through individual and group presentations and participation in class discussion.

3. Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others
Students will be encouraged to develop time-management skills, working independently, individually and in groups, and taking responsibility for their own work.
KeywordsInternational Law,Civil and Commercial Litigation,Private Law
Course organiserDr Veronica Ruiz Abou-Nigm
Tel: (0131 6)50 4396
Course secretaryMiss Lauren McCrory-Irving
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