Between 27 May and 7 June 2019, the Law School successfully ran three professional skills summer schools with different commercial law themes, as part of its wider LLM programmes with Professional Skills.
The summer schools were coordinated by Professor Derek Auchie, Dr Burcu Yüksel and Professor Abbe Brown. After a preparatory week between 20-24 May comprising more general skills (notably communication, presentation and team work), the substantive parts of the summer schools each then involved renowned external experts in the fields of international commercial law and arbitration, international trade and intellectual property which are three of the pillars of the Aberdeen Centre for Commercial Law.
The Professional Skills element of LLM International Commercial Law focused on international commercial arbitration. This involved taking an international arbitration from its inception to the final outcome. Students discussed topics such as: how to draft (and challenge) and arbitration agreement; jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal; how to write arbitral pleadings; how to prepare for and conduct a preliminary meeting; rules around expert evidence and document disclosure; how to prepare for a full hearing; hearing advocacy; award drafting; challenges to awards and recognition and enforcement of an award. Assessments involved: making an oral jurisdiction argument; drafting a set of pleadings for the claimant and respondent (in groups) and writing an arbitral award. A host of experts took the students through these stages including Elliott Geisinger (Switzerland), Robin Oldenstam (Sweden), Marion Smith QC (UK),Gillian Lemaire (UK and France), Ben Giaretta (UK), Angela Grahame QC (UK) and Professor David Parratt QC (UK). All of these tutors brought their expertise, examples and stories to bring the subject to life.
The Professional Skills element of LLM International Trade Law and Treaty Negotiation focused on international trade negotiations in the view of Brexit, US-China trade war, the shift against international trade liberalisation, the increased emphasis on sustainable development issues in trade policy, the crisis in multilateralism as well as the recent calls for reform of the World Trade Organisation to address world trade challenges. It covered customs and trade disciplines in trade agreements, investment policy and non-trade disciplines in trade agreements, bilateralism and multilateralism, trade negotiation process at bilateral and multilateral level, the importance of sequencing and control, the politics of trade negotiations, skills and techniques, negotiating with local and foreign governments, and analysis of negotiating styles of the US, EU and China. It also included negotiation simulations based on real life examples. As part of this summer school, the Law School also hosted a workshop on Trade Wars and the Future of Trade Negotiationsfacilitated by two leading international trade experts, Mr Luis González García (Matrix Chambers, London) and Ambassador Roberto Zapata, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the World Trade Organisation (WTO, Geneva).
The Professional Skills element of LLM Intellectual Property explored an evolving scenario, providing students with an unusual and valuable integrated perspective. Discussions involved innovation, patent and trade marks, investment, litigation and advocacy, reputation and risk, policymaking and commercialisation. Contributions were provided from industry (Churchill Drilling Tools, Clearwell SubSea), the legal profession (Pinsent Masons, Addleshaw Goddard, Vialex, Faculty of Advocates), the University of Aberdeen and the World Intellectual Property Organization. A trip to local innovator BrewDog was also organised as part of this summer school.
The professional skills summer schools, with their substantive parts taking place over an intensive two-week period in Aberdeen, are designed to equip students with professional skills, perspectives and techniques required to be successful in the respective fields. The summer schools can be studied as part of the Law School’s LLM programmes with Professional Skills, or as stand-alone courses.