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Graduate Diploma International Commercial and Business Law with English for Academic Purposes

Why we're great

  • Our courses provide an excellent preparation route into a wide range of Masters degrees.
  • Successful completion of our courses guarantees you entry to your chosen Masters degree.
  • Become a member of both the International Academy and the department of your subject area.

Course options2017-18

Duration: 9 months
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: International Academy
Fee (Home/EU): £4,900
Fee (International): £10,045
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719
Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk

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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 International Academy 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 [2016] 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.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our International Academy, 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

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. 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.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

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.

How effective is criminal law? How do you break down a criminal law statute to its component parts? And how do you then interpret it? Understand criminal law in England and Wales. Read and critically analyse judicial decisions. Assess and answer factual problems, raising issues of criminal liability.

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.

When is it constitutionally justified to undertake judicial review? Examine judicial review challenges to the Secretary of State, local authorities and other bodies. Apply legal rules and principles to real-life situations, providing advice on the legality of action by public bodies. Communicate complex ideas effectively, orally and in writing.

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.

Want to work as a team on real-life alleged miscarriages of justice? Under the supervision of academics, plus practicing solicitors, barrister and forensic scientists, investigate claims by alleged victims for wrongful convictions. Submit work to the Criminal Cases Review Commission so the case is referred to the Court of Appeal.

How does the law ensure racial equality? Or deal with racial discrimination? How effective is legislation regarding race hate crime? Critically evaluate race equality law to understand its position socio-politically, historically and culturally. Discuss the legacy of racism in race equality laws and assess gaps in the existing legislation.

How significant is patient autonomy? What are the ethical issues around consent to medical treatment? How effective is the law in dealing with medical negligence? Study the general principles of medical law, assessing current topics and real-life case studies. Examine the legal issues and ethical considerations in medical law.

What legal status does a foetus have? Should donors be allowed to remain anonymous? Under what circumstances can end-of-life decisions be made by competent patients? Should terminally ill patients be allowed to die? Critically examine two key areas of medical law, looking at reproductive health and end-of-life care.

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.

Teaching

  • 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

Assessment

  • 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

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

This course is only available to international applicants.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk 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.

IELTS entry 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.

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Visit us

Open days

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 tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

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.

Exhibitions

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.

Applying

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.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.