Private International Law (Advanced) module (LW41015)

Learn about how international disputes in civil, commercial, or family matters are solved

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Module code


When a private law dispute, whether a contract or child custody dispute, has an international element where should the proceedings be litigated? What law should be applied to the issues requiring resolution? When should an overseas judgment be recognised?

In Private International Law you will discover the rules that govern:

  • jurisdiction
  • choice of law
  • and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

So, when a contract between a British company and a French company breaks down and legal proceedings are to be brought, in which country should the case be heard?

If the case is heard in the High Court in London what law should be applied to the substantive elements of the dispute: English law, French law, or some other law? If the case is heard in France in which circumstances should the resultant judgment be recognised in the UK?

Consideration will also be given to family law disputes. So, for example: when an Australian – Scottish couple living in Hong Kong separate which court should adjudicate on what happens to their children? What should happen if the mother unilaterally takes the children to Edinburgh?

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • learn about core aspects of private international law, including jurisdiction, applicable law, and the recognition and enforcement of judgments

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • research new areas of law effectively
  • apply rules contained in complex international and domestic instruments

Assignments / assessment

  • essay (40%)
  • open-book online exam (60%)

Teaching methods / timetable

  • seminars
  • independent study

This module will be delivered by student-led seminars, based on prior reading, allowing a high level of engagement.

You will also need to complete a reading in preparation for each seminar.

Seminars are directed by lecturers but the content is generated by student discussion

This module is available at Levels 3 and 4. You are only able to take one version of this module. Your adviser of studies will help you choose.


This module is available on following courses: