LL4K5      Half Unit
International Commercial Contracts - General Principles

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Diane Galbois


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.


Firm knowledge in contract law and/or international sale of goods from previous studies.

Course content

The course treats what can be called the general part of transnational contract law, i.e. the general principles of law which are of relevance in any kind of international contract, be it sale, construction, shipping, financing, or joint venture. These general principles relate to contractual formation and negotiations, interpretation, transversal general principles, changed circumstances and hardship, agency, third parties, assignment, self-help and set-off, direct performance and damages and penalties. At present, such contracts are governed either by uniform rules of international conventions or by the national laws applicable by virtue of conflict of law rules. The course puts the existing national and international solutions in a comparative perspective so as to work with the sources of such generally accepted principles. Where there are divergences between existing solutions, the course focuses on the elaboration of new efficient solutions that are internationally acceptable and have the potential of becoming general principles in the future. For these purposes, special attention is given to the UNIDROIT Principles on International Commercial Contracts and, where appropriate, the European Principles of Contract Law. Other national laws, however, are drawn upon from time to time. Students are also encouraged, in both classes and examination, to reflect upon the similarities and differences between their own national laws and the UNIDROIT Principles.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be a Reading Week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

One 2,500 word essay after week 6 on previous exam questions (choice of 1 out of 3).

Indicative reading

S. Vogenauer & J. Kleinheisterkamp, Commentary on the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (1st edn, OUP 2009); H. Kötz, European Contract Law (OUP 1997); K. Zweigert & H. Kötz, An Introduction to Comparative Law (3rd edn, OUP 1998); H. Beale et al., Ius Commune Casebook on the Common Law of Europe: Cases Materials and Text on Contract Law (2nd edition, OUP 2010); T. Kadner Graziano, Comparative Contract Law (Palgrave 2009).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: 33

Average class size 2018/19: 33

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills