LL4B1      Half Unit
International Trade Law

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Mona Pinchis-Paulsen


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Development Studies 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 LSE for You.


None. Students with no previous background in public international law may find it helpful to consider consulting a standard textbook such as M. Evans (ed.), International Law (OUP, 5th ed., 2018) or J. Crawford, Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law (OUP, 9th ed., 2019).

Course content

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the multilateral trading system, particularly the law governing international trade as established by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The course begins with an intellectual history of international trade theory and policy, and introduces students to major competing perspectives on trade and globalization. The course proceeds to concentrate on the WTO agreements’ coverage of goods and services, dispute settlement procedures, and transparency mechanisms. In addition, the course will explore specialized areas of international trade regulation, such as health standards and safety, contingent protection measures, agriculture, intellectual property, and environment.

Beyond the detailed coverage of WTO law, the course emphasizes in-depth analysis of the history and the political economy of international trade law. We will carefully examine what WTO legal institutions do and how they operate to understand how the law and institutions of the WTO impact national regulation and policy goals. We will also evaluate how economic, political, and social questions have shaped, and may continue to shape, the decision-making, trade negotiations, and dispute settlement processes of the WTO. Finally, with our study of WTO functions, legal disciplines, and case law we will develop informed assessments of the future governance of the WTO, particularly in light of the WTO’s diverse membership and current global concerns, such as cybersecurity, pandemics, and climate change.

Students interested in development and public international law may complement this course with LL4AV: International Economic Law and Development.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours in Michaelmas Term. Students will usually have two additional hours in the Summer Term. This year teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

Reading lists will be provided for each seminar on Moodle. Relevant readings may include: P. Van den Bossche & W. Zdouc, The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases and Materials (CUP, 4th ed., 2017). J. Pauwelyn, A. Guzman, & J. Hillman, International Trade Law (Aspen, 3rd ed., 2016); and M. Matsushita et al., The World Trade Organization: Law, Practice, and Policy (OUP, 3rd ed., 2017). Primary WTO source materials are available for download from the WTO website.


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

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills