Private International Law LLM

Private International Law, LLM


Private International Law at Aberdeen enables students to explore the legal landscape through the acclaimed teaching and research at the University’s Law School. This programme offers a breadth of course options that cover many contemporary law issues.

Key Facts

1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time / Part Time
Start Month
January / September
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

Interested in this Degree?

Apply Now


Our LLM in Private International Law offers you a unique opportunity to study a wide range of courses that explore the role of law in international affairs. The programme will provide you with an advanced knowledge of law within an international context and equip you with the skills needed to meet the demands of top employers. You will study topics such as the Law of Business Transactions, Comparative and International Insolvency Law, Choice of Law in Business Transactions and Private International Family Law.

This programme was designed specifically with the assistance of external contacts who work within the field of private international law. You will have the opportunity to learn from the lawyers who implemented the very laws that you will be studying. Combined with the knowledge of our internal staff at the University, the programme provides unique insights into the subject, ensuring that it is aligned with the competencies required for today’s international job market.

The University of Aberdeen has a reputation for attracting world-class teaching staff with unrivalled experience and knowledge in their specialist subjects. You will have access to first rate teaching from globally respected staff, such as Programme Director Professor Paul Beaumont, who has published extensively in International and European Union Law and written a monograph on the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. He has been a delegate for UK at the Hague Conference on Private International Law since 1996.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning LLM programme which runs in September and January. You will find information about other ways to study this programme in the next section on this page.

Semester 1


The information listed below is for September start students. Information for January starts can be found under "Other Ways to Study".

All students must take two LS50xx courses and two LS55xx courses.

Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following courses:

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS501T)

This compulsory course provides students from diverse legal and educational backgrounds with a common understanding of the core research, analytical, and writing skills which would be required to excel in LLM-Taught courses. It commences with a few lectures and progresses to working within smaller groups in a workshop environment and finally to the submission of an individual assignment. It also incorporates elements such as library workshops to provide students with hands-on experience with the resources available for course and dissertation work.

Private International Law: Concepts and Institutions (LS5093)

As a result of globalisation, and, in Europe, of its recent communitarisation, Private International Law has undergone profound changes and has become a subject of increasing prominence and complexity. This course forms a foundation for the Programme LLM in Private International Law and is designed to enable students to gain an in-depth understanding of key concepts of Private International Law, including classification, renvoi, incidental question, public policy and mandatory rules. Students will also acquire insight into the role played by key institutions to develop principles and harmonize rules pertaining to jurisdiction, choice of law and recognition and enforcement of judgments.

Optional Courses

Three optional courses must be selected. One should be selected from semester 1 and two from semester 2.

Alternatively, one of your three choices could be selected from another LLM programme (excluding LS501E, and LS551K).

Private International Law: Jurisdiction in Business Transactions (LS5089)

We examine the question of jurisdiction in relation to commercial matters involving private international law. We examine the general and special jurisdictional aspects of the Brussels I Regulation and the Recast Brussels I Regulation; choice of court agreements; and, international commercial arbitration.

Comparative and International Insolvency Law (LS5095)

This course explores, through seminar discussion including some group work, the theory and general principles of insolvency law, the domestic insolvency law of selected jurisdictions (currently Scotland, the US and Germany), the theory and general principles of international insolvency law and selected topics in international insolvency law (currently the EU Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings, domestic law provisions regulating international insolvency in selected jurisdictions and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency). Topics and selected jurisdictions may vary according to topicality.

Semester 2

Optional Courses

Choice of Law for Business (LS551B)

This LLM course as a whole addresses choice of law for business, and focuses on three areas, namely contractual obligations, non-contractual obligations and corporate law. Students are expected to develop a clear understanding of relevant legislation and judgments, as well as to consider whether the law strikes an appropriate balance between party autonomy and the interests of states in prescribing relevant outcomes. The course is taught by means of seminars and guided independent reading.

Private International Law of Family Law (LS5589)

To learn about the contribution of international instruments to private international law of family law, in particular those developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the European Union. To analyse the Hague Conventions on International Child Abduction (1980), Maintenance (2007) and Intercountry Adoption (1993) and the EU Regulations dealing with child abduction and maintenance. Finally, to consider possible future regulation of international surrogacy arrangements.

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Master of Law Dissertation (LS5904)

Between May and mid-August students prepare a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice related to their specialist LLM programme. Students are instructed through the delivery of a preparatory lecture, two supervisory meetings and a two hour dissertation planning workshop in a small group setting. Students are expected to spend considerable time on independent research throughout the course of the dissertation module, including; preparation of dissertation plan, amendment of plan in accordance with supervisory comments, preparation for the dissertation workshop, and, of course, in the final 10,000 word dissertation itself.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

In addition to being taught through traditional lectures and seminars, the University Law School employs a range of teaching methods to suit your learning style. Even when studying independently, you will benefit from having regular contact with your course coordinator and other members of the teaching staff.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Individual Projects
  • Seminars
  • Research


Assessment: by course work, by written examination, or by a combination of these, as prescribed for each course. The degree of LLM shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS grade of D3 or above in the specified dissertation course, irrespective of their performance in other courses: such candidates may, at the discretion of the Examiners, be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or a Postgraduate Certificate.

Why Study Private International Law?

Aberdeen’s Law School provides one of the best training grounds for lawyers in the UK. Ever since the University’s opening in 1495, the Law School has played a pivotal role in Aberdeen’s history - and there’s no substitute for experience.

  • Our Law School is ranked 11th in the UK, out of more than 90 law schools (The Guardian, The Times Good University Guide 2015).
  • Aberdeen is ranked in the Top 10 for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014 and has a 95% student satisfaction rating.
  • The University is one of the top 5 for graduate career prospects (National Student Survey 2014) with 96% of our students entering directly into employment, research or further study within six months of graduation.
  • In an LLM exit survey that we carried out in 2015, 95% of our students felt the programme met their expectations and 94% would recommend the University to others.
  • There are over 40 nationalities within the School of Law postgraduate community, so you will benefit from the experiences of international students from all over the world.

Students choose to study Law at Aberdeen because of our reputation for academic excellence and promising career prospects. At Aberdeen, you will:

  • Benefit from the expertise of our world-renowned teaching staff, which will give you the knowledge and skills to prepare you for a career in the law profession.
  • Benefit from small class sizes, meaning you will get focused interaction with teaching staff during seminars.
  • Be invited to attend all meetings organised by the Centre for Private International Law and any conferences or workshops, which will provide you with unique insights into the study of international law.
  • Master a thorough methodology that will help you accurately analyse legal issues with an international element.
  • Have the opportunity to interact with a wide community of international staff and students, from whom you will gain invaluable insights into the study of Private International Law.
  • Be situated in the oil capital of Europe, which offers the perfect environment for the study of Private International Law.

The University also has a leading Law careers service that organises events focused on providing you with the additional skills needed to make the most of your career potential. You will be part of a vibrant, close-knit community of students that provides a personal and friendly atmosphere where staff have the opportunity to know students by name and can closely monitor progress.    

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fees and Funding Table for HOME, EU, RUK and International Students
Nationality Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition fee for main award £6,000
International Students Tuition fee for main award £14,300
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trip courses. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


View all funding options in our Funding Database.

We Revised The Hague Convention Statute

Professor Beaumont represented the UK in the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the Council of the European Union for 15 years and negotiated many new Conventions

Entry Requirements


Normally a 2:1 honours degree in Law (or another related discipline) or equivalent. Relevant practical experience in the field of commercial law will also be beneficial.

Due to the nature and structure of this programme, spaces are limited and only a September start is offered. Prospective students interested in this programme should submit their complete application by the end of May each year. All applications will be reviewed by the programme admissions panel. Decisions will be notified by the end of June. Unsuccessful applicants may, at the discretion of the admissions panel, be offered a place on the LLM International Commercial Law with Dissertation instead.

Document requirements application, we require at least:

  • A full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and marks you achieved in your degree(s).
  • A detailed personal statement explaining your reasons for choosing this programme.
  • CV/Resume optional.
  • Reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability.

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

  • Degree Transcripta full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
  • Personal Statementa detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Referencea reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability


By studying Private International Law at Aberdeen, you will have the opportunity to pursue a range of careers in the legal profession. Many students decide to continue with academia and go on to study for a PhD at Aberdeen, whereas others choose to enter into employment. As a postgraduate of Private International Law, you could find yourself working in large influential institutions such as the European Commission or Hague Conference.

Our Experts

Our courses in Private International Law are taught by experts in their field. Your teachers will include, among others:

Other Experts
Professor Paul Beaumont

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building


AB24 3UB
+44 (0)1224 274260
What do you think of our new Prospectus?