European and International Commercial Law

Course content

Within the European Union, indeed around the globe, international business transactions (IBTs), typically involving parties whose places of business are in different States, are regulated by a series of specialized rule-sets. These rule-sets are designed to promote “de-nationalization” of international business, thus levelling the commercial playing field, while promoting competition and trade. The internationalization trend affects not only substantive rule-sets (e.g., the law of obligations, including contracts and sales), but also regional and international rules which regulate IBT dispute resolution (by litigation or arbitration) and choice of law (Private International Law: PIL) rules. Internationalization also impacts profoundly on substance, dispute resolution and PIL in “tort” (delict), e.g. product liability.
EICL is thus an inter-disciplinary course designed to promote understanding of how key substantive, procedural and private international law (conflict-of-laws) rule-sets operate in relation to IBTs, primarily as regards transactions and disputes involving contract and tort. Starting with the international contract of sale as a substantive (contract law) paradigm, the course considers concrete cases and problems arising under the Vienna Sales Convention (CISG). The corresponding substantive paradigm for non-contractual obligations is the EU Product Liability Directive (PLD). The CISG and PLD then provide a platform for the exploration of procedural and conflict issues in a larger regional and international context, involving the international competence (jurisdiction) of national courts and international arbitral tribunals, choice of applicable law (in litigation and arbitration), recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards etc. The course includes consideration of key decisions, by the European Court of Justice and national courts applying European and international rules and conventions, e.g.:
• UN Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (1980)
• EU Product Liability Directive (1985)
• EU (Rome) Convention on Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (1980); Rome I Regulation (2008).
• EU (Rome II) Regulation: Law Applicable to Non-contractual Obligations (2007)
• EU Brussels I Regulation (2000)
• UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (2006)
• UN (New York) Convention on Recognition & Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958).
Emphasis is placed on knowledge and skills relevant for practitioners who deal with litigation and arbitration of commercial problems at the transnational level. A significant part of the course is characterised by the use of the Case Method of study, and all students are required to participate in a series of case “Presentations”. The students’ acquired knowledge of the course materials, including various case studies – as well as the underlying general principles which govern the resolution of similar cases - is tested both during in-class Presentations and later in a Final Written Exam (see below). On-line e-exercises will provide students with ample opportunity to practice their skills throughout the entire course.

Main Topics
• Weeks 36, 37, 38, 39 (12 hrs): General Introduction: Substance, Procedure & Conflict of Laws. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). EU Product Liability Directive.
• Weeks 40 & 41 (6 hrs): Juridical Jurisdiction: EU Brussels I Regulation
• Weeks 43, 44, 45 (10 hrs): Law Applicable to Contractual & Non-Contractual Obligations: EU Rome I & II Regulations. Recognition & Enforcement of Judgments under national law and Brussels I Regulation.
• Weeks 46, 47, 48 (6 hrs): International Commercial Arbitration: Model Arbitration Law; UNIDROIT Principles (Lex Mercatoria); Recognition & Enforcement of Arbitral Awards: New York Convention.

Learning outcome

The objective of the course is to enable the students to:
- Explain in English the structure and function of EU and Private International Law rules covered by the required reading material for the course
- Identify complex EU and Private International Law problems
- Analyze complex EU and Private International Law problems
- Argue in favor of various tenable solutions, make a critical weighing of the relevant arguments and make a reasoned choice in relation to theoretical and practical considerations
- Put into perspective concrete relevant EU and Private International Law problems in a way that shows that she/he has a professional breadth of view in relation to and knowledge about the course subject
- Communicate and formulate her/his knowledge and arguments professionally and linguistically correct and in a way that is structured and coherent

1. J. Lookofsky: Understanding the CISG (4th Worldwide ed. 2012): Ch. 17.

2. J. Lookofsky & K. Hertz: EUPIL (2nd ed. DJOEF & Juris Pub. 2015): Ch. 1-6.

3. Online materials: cases (case law), law journal articles, etc.: appx. 200 pp.

Total Required Reading: about 550 pages.

Students are expected to have completed a basic (national law) course in Private Law or the law of Obligations (Contracts & Torts).
Since the exam will be a written examination (see below), students should be reasonably proficient in their ability to write English

ECTS
10 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Written exam, 4 hours with invigilation

The student's grade is based on the result of a 4-hour final written exam (with supervision). The exam is “open book” (all materials allowed).
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 34
  • Preparation
  • 241
  • English
  • 275