About the course
This course is for you if you need to improve your English language skills and subject knowledge of international commercial and business law before going on to a Masters course. You improve your language fluency and academic vocabulary, develop your academic skills, and gain experience of western methods of teaching and learning so that you can progress onto a relevant Masters course in our School of Law.
At Essex, you can progress onto our LLM International Commercial and Business Law.
Our Essex Pathways Department offers some of the best routes for international students to enter higher education in the UK. Our innovative courses and programmes have proved very successful with international students and have also attracted UK students because of the distinctive learning environment we offer.
If you are an international student, you may find that the education system in the UK is slightly different from other countries and, sometimes, that the transition to the British system can be challenging. Our courses help you to settle in and adapt to life in the UK.
Alongside improving your academic English skills, you also develop an understanding of the substantive issues of law necessary for the successful study of law at Masters level, improving your knowledge in the subject area and familiarising you with the legal terminology and concepts.
Our law course will develop your intellectual and critical faculties, encourage you to think independently and teach you to present rational, coherent and accurate arguments orally and in writing. It will provide you with an excellent foundation for any career.
At Essex we specialise in commercial law, public law, and human rights law. We are Top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014), and we are ranked among the top 200 departments on the planet according to the QS World [University] Rankings  for law.
Our expert staff
Our internationally diverse community of staff and students gives us a breadth of cross-cultural perspectives and insights into law and justice around the world.
This community, combined with opportunities to study abroad during your time with us, ensures you graduate with a genuine worldview and a network of international contacts.
By studying within our Essex Pathways Department, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer:
- We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
- Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
- Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends
You can also take advantage of our extensive law facilities:
- Volunteer at the Essex Law Clinic where you can work alongside practicing solicitors to offer legal advice to clients
- Gain commercial awareness at our Business and Legal Advice Clinic
- Work on key human rights projects at our Human Rights Clinic
- Test your mediation and negotiation skills in our Client Interviewing Competition (sponsored by Birkett Long Solicitors)
- Join our Model United Nations society, which can improve your skills of argumentation, oral presentation and research
- Network at our student-run Law Society, Human Rights Society, and Bar Society, which provides legal advice to the Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA)
- Our Essex Street Law project is one of the first of its kind and is the primary pro-bono project provided by our Law Society
- Take advantage of networking opportunities with visiting law firms
Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
Want to undertake legal research at postgraduate level? Interested in studying the principal sources of law operating within the UK system? Understand the essential techniques required for working with judicial decisions and statutes. Build research skills for reading legal materials, and develop your interpretative and critical evaluation abilities.
Want to improve your English? Keen to practise your language skills? Revise your existing understanding of English grammar and vocabulary. Extend your knowledge of academic English. Learn to deliver an effective presentation and to communicate clearly in seminars or tutorials. Develop your independent enquiry and learning skills.
Now it’s time for a longer assignment. You will work with the support of your EAP lecturer to write a 2,500 word compare and contrast essay using academic sources. You will also develop your ability to give a presentation on an academic topic and develop your awareness of the reporting and referencing strategies needed to present a range of views while avoiding plagiarism.
What interests you? Undertake an in-depth investigation on a topic related to your course that you have chosen. Research, review and complete a 2,500-3,000 word assignment, that presents a balanced opinion while evaluating current knowledge. Deliver a presentation of your findings to the rest of your group.
Can you identify and deconstruct an argument? Or construct an argument? Build your critical thinking skills by examining the concepts involved. Learn to apply this reflection when critically evaluating work. Understand the language and discourse of academic writing, and the importance of critical thinking in an academic context.
What are the key legal principles underlying international trade transactions? How is English law applied to international trade? What international instruments help establish an autonomous law of international trade? What current issues are caused by new technology? Understand, develop and deploy legal arguments in the context of international trade law.
Who is liable for causing psychiatric harm? Or for causing economic loss? Study the foundations of negligence liability, examining further aspects of tort law. Gain experience of applying the principles of negligence liability to duty-based scenarios. Read and critically analyse judicial decisions.
What is meant by breach of trust? What are the constitutional elements of a fully constituted trust? How can that trust be terminated? Study the principles governing the law of trusts. Examine the development of equity, equitable principles and equitable remedies. Analyse social and legal contexts in which trusts arise.
What are the legal implications of family breakdown when the parties are married? Or when they are civil partners? How does this change if they have children? Examine key features of family law, including the protective function (relating to domestic violence), adjustment of property rights and responsibilities of family members.
What are the rules governing state responsibility? Or the acquisition of statehood? How do you apply international law to notions of jurisdiction? Study the theories and concepts behind public international law, plus new developments in the field. Learn to apply relevant principles to specific case studies.
How do states behave with regards to their own people? What about their environment and territory? How do they behave to others? Build on your knowledge of public international law regarding human rights, environmental law, the law of the sea, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the use of force.
How effective is the European Convention on Human Rights? Or the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe? Examine European institutions and systems that protect human rights, promote democracy and prevent conflict. Study from a British perspective but with analysis of international law and human rights in different European countries.
You’ll cover the legal aspects of banking transactions, banking regulation and the bank-customer relationship. You’ll be introduced to the concept as banks as economic and social institutions and their regulation in a domestic and global context. You’ll analyse the bank-customer relationship including the important issues of contractual fairness, the banks duty of confidentiality, and the potential for transactional and advisory liability.
What are the main corporate management issues today? What is the legislative framework for insolvency and takeovers? Have corporate scandals changed modern company law? Examine the rules that govern companies, building knowledge for a career in commerce and industry. Evaluate real-life cases to understand statutes, case law and regulatory practice.
What legal issues are raised by the use of animals in science? Or animals who are used as a food source? How does the law protect endangered species? Understand the legislation and case law relating to different categories of animal. Consider the philosophical underpinnings of such laws.
This module examines child law within its social and historical contexts, at both the international and domestic levels. You consider theoretical debates and are challenged to critically think about the key areas of child law. An understanding of 'childhood' including historical and anthropological perspectives is essential and this is covered as an introduction to the module.
This module builds on Foundations of Public Law. The research-led teaching for this module provides insights into several areas of public law that are not always available in standard texts and are designed to enable detailed consideration of issues that are of current importance and the subject of research within the School of Law.
Want to experience a practice-based role in a legal environment? Undertake a placement in order to deepen and apply your understanding of law to a real-world setting. Build your personal and professional skills, including oral and written communication, problem solving and ability to reflect on your work.
How do you apply the law to contracts between business parties? What about contracts between private consumers? Examine the key legal and policy issues surrounding the regulation of contracts. Understand and critically evaluate the rules, then apply this knowledge to hypothetical problem situations.
How do you apply the law to contracts between business parties? How would you resolve a problem with faulty goods? Or issues around globalisation? Examine the key legal and policy issues surrounding the regulation of business contracts. Understand and evaluate the rules, then apply this knowledge to real-life case studies.
How do you write an employment contract? And how can this contract be terminated? Study the practical application of employment law, including the settling of workplace disputes and requirements when bringing a claim to tribunal. Develop skills in drafting tribunal forms and advocacy before a tribunal.
What are judges for? Who are the judges? How should they be appointed? These are some of the questions you’ll answer. Drawing on comparative material from Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Spain and New Zealand, you’ll also examine the operation of courts, and work of judges, from first instance through to final courts of appeal. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the UK Supreme Court, and will have an in-class interview with a judge.
How do moral and political theories contribute to understanding of the law? Examine general legal theories alongside concepts of morality and knowledge. Undertake an in-depth study on a major aspect of law, focusing on topics like contract, tort and crime, and theoretical issues that shape legal liability.
What are the constitutional issues around the institutional structure of the EU? How has this changed with enlargement? Understand EU law to obtain a qualifying law degree. Examine the concepts of EU law and how different areas are connected. Analyse EU law within its political and socio-economic context.
Want to satisfy the land law requirement of professional training? And become familiar with land law terminology? Study the framework within which a property lawyer operates. Examine modern legal tensions around the conveyancing process and social justice (eg protecting the “rights” of those who aren’t legal owners of the property).
Can previous criminal convictions of the defendant or a witness be presented to the court? How are vulnerable witnesses (like rape complainants or children) protected by the court system? Can an illegally obtained confession be used in court? Study the process and procedure involved in presenting evidence at trials.
Intellectual property consists of monopolies or exclusive rights which the law grants or recognises for the purposes of encouraging or rewarding inventive or creative effort, or of preventing unfair competition. In this module you’ll look closely at the law of copyright, trademarks, and patents.
What is meant by commercial property? What is the nature of the commercial landlord and tenant relationship? Examine key aspects of commercial property law and the framework in which a commercial property lawyer operates. Understand the content of a business tenancy and how this can be created, alienated and terminated.
How do we define cybercrime? What further changes are needed to the law? Examine the historical development of law in this area, analysing key statutes and cases. Review regional and international frameworks, and how they interact with national criminal law. Critically assess the multiple discourses regulating cybercrime and the internet.
How do you apply competition law to mergers? Or to deal with the abuse of a dominant position? Discuss EU and UK competition law. Examine the relationship between the EU and UK competition law regimes, and critically evaluate its operation in a commercial environment. Assess recent developments in this field.
How do you apply law to the internet? What legal issues are raised? Study the history of communications legislation in the UK, plus essential case law. Examine competing philosophical perspectives on applying law to the internet. Understand the engineering approach to internet regulation. Analyse privacy and freedom of expression issues.
How important is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty? And how important is a defendant’s right to a fair trial? Study the law, policy and practice of the criminal justice system. Examine recent trends in criminal justice policy and specific aspects of the criminal process, from pre- to post-trial.
Who owns music? How do you distribute music in our changing media environment? Understand the legal and commercial context of today’s music industry. Analyse contract law issues, particularly regarding ownership, transfer and exploitation of music, lyrics and sound recordings. Apply relevant law to real-life examples to reach a negotiated solution.
This module allows you to research an area of law of your own choice. You’re therefore able to demonstrate your own originality and creativity by researching an area of law in great detail.
Want practical experience of providing legal advice? Work within the Essex Law Clinic, receiving supervision and training to provide assistance on topics like employment, housing, benefits and consumer matters. Develop your abilities in interviewing, client care, networking and teamwork, as well as general office skills.
How do major theories on criminality impact on our criminal justice system? How do we attempt to control crime as a society? Critically evaluate crime and law within the broader social and political context. Examine issues of justice, focusing on the needs of crime victims, offenders and the society.
You’ll be introduced to some of the main contemporary theories of justice, and will examine some of the leading theories of distributive justice. You’ll study justice considered as a distinctively legal virtue and will address the question of the extent to which theories of distributive justice should have any bearing on the practice of the law. You’ll also be provided with some of the tools necessary to think about ethical and political matters.
Islamic Law (Shariah) is present in many legal fields ranging from contract, to property, to criminal law. Various jurisdictions have adopted particular systems of regulation for specific sectors due to its significance. This module places particular emphasis on the history of Islamic law and its place in modern society. You are challenged with demonstrating a critical understanding of the key concepts and approaches to Islamic law and the ability to analyse and evaluate differing opinions on legal and ethical arguments.
As part of this module you critically examine the work of the Financial Conduct Authority, therefore gaining a comprehensive understanding of consumer protection law. You study how regulation has developed historically, which enables you to identify and assess the challenges of regulating retail financial services. You are expected to think critically and creatively to develop a systematic understanding of the role of different actors in governing retail financial services.
- Basic IT skills training is available and training in the use of LEXIS and WESTLAW (legal research tools) is also given
- Your teaching consists of interactive classes, workshops and tutorials
- There will be an emphasis on learner independence, peer- and self-assessment
- You will also have the opportunity to attend seminars organised by our Department of Language and Linguistics
- Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, in-class tests and individual oral presentations
- You may be required to sit exams during the third term of your academic year
UK entry requirements
This course is not available to UK applicants.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.