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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5585M International Trade Finance Law

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Professor Andrew Campbell

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The course considers in detail the financing of international trade, in particular through the use of letters of credit and standby letters of credit. These legal instruments are analysed in full against a background of general international standardisation in practice. Comparisons are drawn between the techniques used in international trade finance and those used primarily in domestic law.


Learning outcomes
- Understand the scope, structure and purpose of International Trade Finance law including relevant institutional structures, policy material and the economic and political context of the subject matter
- Understand the interrelationships between national and international legal dispensations in this sphere
- Research, collate and synthesise primary and secondary materials on International Trade Finance law
- Undertake in depth analysis of the law and policy on specific case studies pertaining to International Trade Finance law
- Evaluate critically the appropriateness and effectiveness of existing laws and regulation insofar as they impact on trade and business
- Produce a substantial piece of individual written research work reflecting the above objectives.

Skills outcomes
- Understanding the scope, structure and purpose of International Trade Finance Law including policy material and the economic and political context of the subject matter
- Understanding the part that Finance Law plays in the development of international trade
- Mastering the conceptual building blocks of a relatively discrete but interlocking body of legal knowledge
- Researching and synthesising primary and secondary materials on national and international law and policy pertaining to trade finance
- Critically evaluating the appropriateness and effectiveness of existing legal dispensations on trade finance law including their implications for business and economic activity
- Understanding the role of policy actors in the process of law formation in this sphere
- Producing a substantial piece of individual written research work reflecting the above objectives.


Introduction to the essential characteristics and instruments of international trade finance. The financing function. The nature of security and lending. The problems of open account trading, political, commercial and litigation risk. Risk mitigation and avoidance techniques. Set-off, retention of title and guarantees.

The generic letter of credit and the Uniform Customs and Practice under which it functions. How and why it works. The concepts of irrevocability, autonomy and non-recourse. The legal relationships on a letter of credit. Payment mechanisms under letters of credit.

Security in international trade finance. The constructive pledge. Subrogation under guarantees and letters of credit. Standby letters of credit, performance and other bonds, bank guarantees and surety guarantees, The problem of assuring performance of contractual obligations in foreign jurisdictions.

Creditworthiness substitution and shifting litigation costs. Standardisation of international guarantee practice.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours134.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

134 hours are allocated to private study. It is expected this will consist of preparation for seminars, reading and reflection following each teaching session and prepartion for assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress will be monitored through attendance at and participation in seminars.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 4,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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