International Business Law

 Academic Level: BSc

Prerequisites: -

Credit Value: 5 ECTS

Provided by prof. Luz Marina Ruiz Montoya     e-mail:





In class activity


Self study


Written exam




         Legal issues confront the International Business person in almost every strategy undertaken when entering international markets. This area of law is both challenging and topical, because it constantly tests fundamental principles of private law against the rapid development of international commercial practice. This raises issues relating to the harmonisation of international commercial law and relevant problems of private international law and international dispute settlement.

        The course provides students with an overview of the legal issues they are most likely to encounter in transnational business settings.  By means of a practical approach participants perceive the discrepancies among a variety of national or regional legislations, special emphasis being done between US and European legal systems.

        The content of the course is structured in three parts: the first one provides a basic knowledge of the “fundamentals” of International Business Law. They are referred first to International rules: whom are they issued, what hierarchy is there among them, enforcement of foreign legislation and international harmonization of Commercial Law. Specific mention is made to international contracts: elements, relevant clauses from the point of view of international business and restatements of contract law. Secondly to International Persons, that is, public and private actors of international trade. Special reference is made to those International Organizations with a more relevant role in the field of international transactions: WTO, IMF, UN, EU, NAFTA, etc. and particular attention is drawn to the different ways in Multinational Organizations can be structured.

         Second part covers specific topics related to international business activity: contracts such as sale of goods, transportation, agency or distribution are analysed and special emphasis is done on those clauses which can have more significant implications. Financing contracts such as leasing or factoring and negotiable instruments are analysed from a comparative point of view, so as to enable students weigh up their pros and cons in each specific situation. Students will get an overall understanding of the rules and issues related to international investment, in particular securities clearance and settlement procedures. Two final units deal with services and foreign labour and Intellectual property rights, with an insight into most commonly issues raised in business life.

        Third part offers an overall understanding of the existing institutions and procedures with regard to Commercial Dispute Resolution. Students learn the principles on which civil and arbitration procedures are based on, as well as the criteria related to jurisdiction or the requirements for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements.  



Enable students to:

·         Assess  the interplay of political, economical, social and legal factors in the international trade environment

·         Identify the main sources of law and understand the application of legal rules to particular situations

·         Analyse and comprehend legal documents, understanding the eventual consequences attached to business decisions

·         Analyse, evaluate and apply relevant information from a variety of legal sources

·         Identify legal risk-generating issues embedded in business activities and transactions

·         Make the most of legal counsel (both in-house and external)





          1. Nature and types of International Law

a.    Public International Law

b.    Private International Law

2. Sources of International Law

a.    Treaties and Conventions

b.    Custom

c.    General Principles

3. Major Legal Systems of the World

a.    Civil Law System

b.    Common Law System

4. Harmonization of Commercial Law

a.    Instruments: INCOTERMS, model contracts (WTO)

b.    Institutions: International Chamber of Commerce, UNIDROIT, UNCITRAL

c.    Restatements of Contract Law


         1.    States

2.    International Organizations

a.    International Regulation: Bribery and Corruption

b.    Home and Host State Regulation: Unfair Competition, Liability

                                                                                 i.    Public (Intergovernmental Organizations: UN,EU, Free Trade Areas (ASEAN, MERCOSUR..), Economic Consultative Associations (OECD, OPEC)

                                                                                ii.    Private (Nongovernmental Organizations) 

3.    The Multinational Organization

a.               The Parent Company

b.              The Subordinate Structure

c.         Branches and Subsidiaries

d.               Multinational Enterprises


1.    Agency

a.    Rights and Obligations of the Parties

b.    European legislation on Commercial Agency

2.    Distribution

a.    Rights and Obligations of the Parties

b.    Specific Distribution Contract Clauses

3.    Franchising

a.    Rights and Obligations of the Parties

b.    UNIDROIT Model Franchise Disclosure Law (TCL, p. 343)

4.    Partnership


1.    The World Trade Organization

a.    The WTO and World Trade

b.    WTO  General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

2.    The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods

3.    UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts and the Principles of

4.    Other Multilateral and Bilateral Agreements

5.    Sales Contract

a.    Formation of the Contract

b.    Trade Terms (INCOTERMS)

c.    Rights and Obligations of the Parties

d.    Passing of Property and  Risk

e.    Remedies


           1.    Negotiable Instruments:

a.    Bills of Exchange

b.    Cheques

c.    Promissory Notes

2.    Negotiation and Transfer of Negotiable Instruments

3.    Letters of Credit

a.    Governing Law

b.    Applying for a Letter of Credit

c.    Rights and Obligations of the Bank, Account Party and Beneficiary

4.    Bank Payment Obligations (BPO)

5.    Leasing

6.    Factoring

7.    Countertrade


           1.    Foreign Investment Laws and Codes

2.    National and Regional Investment Policies

3.    Limitations to Foreign Investment

4.    Free Zones

5.    Securities Trade:

a.    Clearance and Settlement Procedures

b.    Insider Trading Regulations

c.    Takeover Regulations

d.    Enforcement of Securities Regulation Internationally


1.    International Regulation

2.    Contract of Carriage

a.    Transport documents and their function

b.    Carriers liability

3.    Inland Carriage

4.    Carriage of Goods by Sea

a.    Bill of Landing

b.    Carrier´s duties and liability limits

5.    Carriage of Goods by Air

6.    Charterparties


           1.    The WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services

a.    General obligations and disciplines

b.    Particular sector services (Annexes)

2.    EU Law on Trade in Services

3.    North American Free Trade Agreement

4.    International Labour Law: International Labour Organization

5.    Employment Laws in the EU

6.    Regulation of Foreign Workers


1.    Intellectual Property Rights

a.    Copyrights

b.    Patents

c.    Trademarks & Service Marks

d.    Trade secrets

2.    Intellectual Property Organizations

a.    World International Property Organization

b.    Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

3.    Intellectual Property Treaties

4.    International Transfer of Intellectual Property

a.    Licensing Regulations

b.    Sales and Distribution Agreements



     1.    International Civil Procedure

a.    Jurisdiction to Adjudicate

b.    Choosing the Governing Law

c.    Principles of Transnational Civil Procedure

d.    Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgements

2.    International Commercial Arbitration

a.    Arbitral Rules and Institutions

b.    Arbitration Procedures

c.    New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

3.    Alternative Dispute Resolution

a.    Negotiation

b.    Mediation



         The course will be taught in an interactive format. Students will be expected to arrive at class prepared for the topic and cases of the day.  Students will be called upon to discuss the assigned readings and will present case presentations in class and tutorials.

         Two hours of lectures and two hours of tutorials each week. The frequency and duration of tutorials may be adapted to suit the coverage of certain topics.



GRADING is based on the assessment of student lecture attendance and participation (30 %) and written examination (70%).



100  -  80


79    -  60


59    -   40


Less then 40




August, R., International Business Law (6th ed.), Pearson, 2013

Carr, I., International Trade Law (4 th ed.), Routledge/Cavednish, 2010

Goode, R., Transnational Commercial Law, Oxford University Press, 2007

Hotchkiss, International Law for Business, McGraw-Hill, 1994






10 янв 2014