International Trade Law

Study programme

  • Erasmus School of Law guarantees all prospective students and re-enrolling students of our LL.M-programmes that all education for the next academic year will be offered as of 6 September 2021. 

    In line with our commitment to offer education at highest quality standards, such as interactive education and an ‘international classroom experience’, our goal remains to welcome our students ‘live’ on our campus. However, if government measures do not allow or limit on campus activities at the beginning or during the academic year, we will ensure that students can start or continue their studies and complete their master programme successfully through online or blended education. This way we can continue to support all students in achieving their ambitions in the coming academic year. Please note that at this stage, our LL.M-courses are not offered as fully ‘online’ education.

    International students who have been unable to obtain a visa or who are subject to travel restrictions due to Covid-19 are offered the possibility to start the academic year online. However, as our courses are not offered as fully ‘online’ education, we expect all international students to be on campus as soon as a government-imposed travel ban to the Netherlands is lifted.

    This way, we would like to reassure our Dutch and international students that education will continue under best possible conditions, so that they feel even more motivated to enrol in one of our LLM-programmes.

What aspects does the programme cover?

Commercial contracts and trade financing

After the Research & Writing Skills module, you will study commercial contracts. The start of commercial transactions is often a contract for the purchase of goods or services, but there are also important ancillary contracts, e.g. commercial agency contracts, distribution agreements, licensing or franchising agreements, etc. These agreements are studied in the Commercial Contracts course. The goods or services purchased obviously also need to be paid. In an international setting, payment and security for payment are not always simple. The Trade Finance Law course looks into the legal aspects of these issues.

Risks, insurance, transportation and intellectual property rights

Parties involved in business transactions will often enter into insurance contracts in order to cover their risks and liability. You will learn how these risks can be allocated and how they may be averted or minimized for example through insurance contracts. Also, purchased goods usually need to be transported. You will study contracts of carriage, transport documents and related documents, and the liabilities of the carrier and the shipper. Finally, manufacturers need to protect their products against unauthorized copying. In the Intellectual Property Rights course you will learn to understand both the business rationale and the legal structure of IPR protection. You will also become familiar with the practical implications (and possibilities) of the law.

How is the study programme structured?

You will start the programme with the 15 EC Research and Writing Skills course. During this course, you will learn and practice legal research and report your findings in presentations and papers. The topics are chosen so as to already provide you with a first introduction to subjects that will be covered in the subsequent courses. Attendance of the meetings is mandatory and successful completion of this course is a precondition to being admitted to the master thesis.

The second block is composed of two 5 EC courses, i.e. Commercial Contracts and Comparative Insurance Law. The third block is composed of one 10 EC course, Trade Finance Law. The fourth block consists of one 5 EC course, for which you can choose either Intellectual Property Law or Private International Law and a 5 EC elective. The last block consists of one 5 EC course, Carriage of Goods, and the Master Thesis.

Does the programme have a particular focus? 

The Master International Trade Law distinguishes itself from other LL.M. programmes in business or trade law by its exclusive focus on the commercial law perspective. The courses deal with the way the parties themselves structure their commercial interactions. Company law, regulatory- and public law aspects are left aside.

Throughout the master programme aspects of international trade law are considered from a comparative law perspective. Particular attention is paid to differences in approach and outcome between civil law jurisdictions and common law jurisdictions and by reference to the relevant standards in international trade law.

Based in the port of Rotterdam, this programme educates legal professionals that are to become well versed in international trade law. Due to its position in the centre of a large trade hub the programme is able to offer students many opportunities for exploration of trade in practice by combining the theory that is taught with on-site workshops.


  • Within a university teaching and research are combined. At the master level you will be brought into closer contact with this research. Ultimately, you will have to conduct scholarly research yourself (in your master's thesis). Both for research and in legal practice, certain academic and practical skills are indispensable.

    This course starts with the study of the (international) contract of sale, as a sale of goods or services is the starting point of most business transactions. The rules and regulations regarding international sales, such as the Vienna Convention (CISG Convention) and the INCO Terms, are looked into. 

    This course looks at commercial and business insurance law from a comparative perspective. EU law, civil law and common law solutions are compared and analysed.

    This course looks at (international) payment mechanisms between the parties, including electronic fund transfers (EFT) and electronic currencies, at payment mechanisms involving third parties, such as bills of exchange, documentary collection, documentary credit, etc., and at security mechanisms such as liens and pledges, bank guarantees, standby letters of credit, etc.

    The course consists of two parts. The first part (70%), is based upon a theme-by-theme analysis of carriage contract, where the various unimodal carriage conventions (Hague-Visby Rules, Hamburg Rules, CMR, CMNI, COTIF-CIM, and Montreal) are compared and contrasted to provide a deeper insight in the various subjects at hand. The second part (30%) consists of a study of capita selecta of time and voyage charter parties.

    To enroll for the course Trademark Law it is required to have a grade higher than 7 for Intellectual Property Law.