Skip to main content

Unit information: International Law of Trade and Aid in 2016/17

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name International Law of Trade and Aid
Unit code LAWDM0053
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Novitz
Open unit status Not open
School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will examine law and policy relating to international trade, aid and development within the context of international law. Students will consider the legal materials, policy statements and supervisory procedures which govern the work of various international and regional institutions associated with trade and aid. These will include at the global level the United Nations and its agencies, such as the World Bank group and the International Monetary Fund, and also the World Trade Organisation. At the regional level, our focus will be on the role that European Union plays in development assistance and its associated trade-related policies will also be investigated. Attention will also be paid not only to regulatory initiatives, but also to regulatory omissions which have implications for North-South relations, such as implementation of international investment instruments and temporary migration linked to trade in services. Reference will be made to diverse understandings of development, which emerged through international agreements and have been the subject of criticism by legal, political and economic theorists.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will:

  • become familiar with the workings of key international organisations in the field of trade regulation and development aid.
  • become aware of the international legal materials generated by these organisations as well as the programmes that they operate.
  • include direct reference to the websites of the organisations in question,
  • review the ways in which decisions are made by such organisations and the capacity for review of such decisions,
  • refer to theoretical studies and secondary materials which seek to evaluate these processes, allowing them to develop their own evaluative frameworks relating to the operation of these systems,
  • be able to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and critical skills by answering essay-style questions in the end of year examination.

Teaching details

The contact hours for this unit will be 30 hours. This will usually take the format of: 8 lectures, 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions.

Assessment Details

Summative: a 2000 word essay (33%) will assess the candidate's ability to research a topic within the scope of this unit. The remaining Intended Learning Outcomes will be assessed in a 3 hour written examination (67%). Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

Reading and References

The following will be helpful sources for reading in this unit. The most recent editions of:

  • A. F. Lowenfeld, International Economic Law (Oxford University Press)
  • P. van den Bossche, The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases and Materials, (Cambridge University Press)
  • M.J. Trebilcock, International Trade Law (Edward Elgar)

Students will also be directed to online sources, journals articles and cases where relevant. These will be provided in their reading list which will be circulated before the course starts in the Autumn term.