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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5590M International Sales Law

15 creditsClass Size: 90

Module manager: Dr George Zhou

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Today, international sales contracts are frequently governed by the 1980 UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The CISG is in force in 78 States from all parts of the world including most of the major trading nations. It has been widely applied in international commercial transactions in the past twenty years with more than 2500 decisions by state courts and arbitral tribunals having been reported so far. It therefore seems fair to say that the CISG has in fact been one of the success stories in the field of the international unification of private law. This module will examine in detail the Vienna Sales Convention, the text itself and some of the important cases from around the world that have considered the Convention. Also of considerable importance as part of the ‘international law of international sales’ are the Incoterms, that is to say the standard trade terms published by the ICC. The module will therefore also examine in detail some of the more important of these trade terms. Throughout the course, attention will be drawn to problems arising in international trade practice in order to develop an understanding of the commercial context in which the law of international sales operates.


The objectives of this module are:
- to provide the opportunity of learning about the principles and rules of the Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG);
- to develop an understanding of the commercial context in which the law of international sales operates;
- to develop an understanding of the importance of, and different types of, ‘soft’ or ‘customary’ law of international sales and in particular the Incoterms;
- to develop an understanding of the international harmonization of law in international sales and the different processes by which such harmonization may be effected;
- to develop an ability to identify accurately issues raising questions of international sales and to apply principles and rules of international sales so as to be able to solve problems;
- to improve the ability to deploy techniques of scholarship and research characteristic of a post-graduate course in law;
- to improve skills in verbal and written communication.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:

1. Identify and explain the structure and rules contained in the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods;
2. Identify the importance of the international commercial and political context in the development of international sales law;
3. Recognise the importance of Incoterms in practice and their contents;
4. Recognise how the international law of international sales has developed and possible ways in which it might develop;
6. Explain the relevant principles of the CISG, apply principles and rules of CISG to the issues, produce well-supported conclusions, and recognize, where appropriate, potential alternative solutions for particular situations;
7. Make a critical evaluation of the rules and principles contained in the CISG, identify areas in need of reform, suggest possible reforms.

Skills learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
1. Development of commercial awareness through the study of the above areas of the international commercial law practice
2. Time management through production of a summative essay within a prescribed time scale reflecting the above objectives (summative assessment).  
3. proper level of critical evaluation skill of legal rules in international sale law.
4. good research skills of finding legal sources and academic literature.


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours135.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

A formal formative assessment opportunity will be provided, which is specifically pedagogically aligned to the summative assessment task. As part of this, each student will receive individual feedback designed to support the development of knowledge and skills that will be later assessed in the summative assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
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: 04/04/2024


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