Most undergraduate level law programmes focus on the particular system of law applicable to each area of the law. A basic understanding lays the foundation on which relevant statutory provisions and judgments can be understood and the knowledge thus gained can be used for routine work. In a globalized economy, however, the legal issues that come up for consideration by lawyers and Judges often require knowledge and understanding of the legal systems transcending national frontiers. In the business world, this has always been the case but increasingly even in other areas issues relating to comparative law and conflicts of laws assume importance.
Most commercial transactions of a multinational character involve complex issues.
This is partly due to the nature of the structuring of business operations. Gone are the days when Company A in one country will purchase equipment manufactured by Company B in a different country.
In a competitive world, where labour costs play an increasingly important role, component parts of the equipment will be manufactured in a number of other countries; the shipment will leave the factory in a third country; and the warranties that will be applicable can be enforced only in selected countries around the world.
Any disputes relating to the contract will be the subject-matter of arbitration which may be held under the aegis of an international tribunal in a neutral territory and the law applicable to the proceedings may have to be decided by the law of the land in which the tribunal is located, unless otherwise specified by the parties. Certain types of contracts attract rules of both common law and civil law jurisdictions. International conventions relating to the sale of goods and transactions impose conditions which may be different from the rules under national legal systems. Thus, the dynamics underlying the complexity of international contracts cannot be underestimated.The negotiation of international contracts often involve foreign lawyers who have gained experience and expertise in many branches of civil and common law and are well versed with the laws of selected jurisdictions. Local lawyers working for law firms and leading companies need to be able to match the knowledge and negotiating skills of their counterparts in order to ensure that the client is not at a competitive disadvantage. Until recently opportunities for local lawyers to gain an internal post-graduate qualification of a British university were few and far between.
Only a handfulof lawyers were able to enjoy the luxury of taking leave of absence from work or from practice and to be able to afford the cost of living in an expensive foreign city.
In 2012, The University of West London (UWL) and ANC’s School of Postgraduate Education launched the internal LLM programmes, offering specializations in;
(i) LLM in International Business and Commercial Law
(ii) LLMin International Intellectual Property Law.
There are certain unique features about each of these post-graduate programmes, namely
• The programmes lead to an “internal” LLM degree being awarded by UWL without the necessity to travel, live and study in London;
• Lectures are conducted jointly by academics of UWL who visit Sri Lanka each semester and by leading industry experts;
• Besides the core subjects for each LLM which deal with English, European Community and international law, guest lectures are held on Sri Lankan legal aspects;
• Each LLMprogramme involves a series of examinations and a 15, 000 word dissertation for which a local and a foreign supervisor will help guide the students;
• Besides lectures in the traditional form, simulation exercises are held to enable students to sharpen their forensic skills;
• Students have access to UWL’s Virtual Learning Environment which provides each week’s power point slides of lectures, e-books and other materials. There is provision for on-line submission of assignments as well.
• Lectures are held in Colombo at ANC on Saturdays, thus enabling practitioners and working people to continue to work whilst following the programme.
The Law School has on its staff leading academics who are well known in international academic circles and the authors of leading publications. All local lecturers are accredited by UWL based on their qualifications, experience and expertise. The need for an international outlook for lawyers, accountants and other professionals cannot be gainsaid. Comparative law is a fascinating subject which is going through many changes all the time, responding to the changing nature of the international legal architecture. These LLMprogrammes offer a window of opportunity to follow these developments and be part of the growing international community of comparative lawyers. The next intake will commence in September2018. Contact 0777 44 99 66 for details and reservations for the event.