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Unit information: Transnational Arbitration in 2021/22

Unit name Transnational Arbitration
Unit code LAWD30128
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Mark Campbell
Open unit status Not open

LAWD10008 Law of Contract and LAWD10011 Law of Tort.



School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Arbitration has become the dispute resolution method of choice in international business transactions. Transnational contracts frequently include a clause referring any disputes which may arise between the parties to arbitration. This unit aims to explain how arbitration works as a method of dispute resolution and to explore the legal framework in which international commercial arbitration operates. That framework comprises four main components. First, the law governing the arbitration agreement (which determines the agreement's validity and scope). Second, the rules which govern procedural aspects of an arbitration (such as the constitution of the tribunal, the tribunal's powers and the powers that may be exercised by a national court in relation to an arbitration). Third, the law (or other considerations) by reference to which the tribunal determines the parties' dispute. Fourth, the law governing enforcement of an arbitral award through the courts (whether in the country of origin or in another country). In exploring that legal framework, the key topics for consideration during the unit will be as follows.

  • Seat of arbitration
  • Arbitration agreements
  • Constitution of the tribunal and challenges to arbitrators
  • Interim measures of protection
  • The law governing the merits of a dispute referred to arbitration
  • Setting aside of arbitral awards
  • Cross-border enforcement of arbitral awards
  • The key primary legal sources referred to during the unit will be the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and the New York Convention 1958, along with associated case law.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  1. Explain the key concepts underpinning international commercial arbitration, how those concepts are recognised within national legal systems, and also the role played by arbitration in resolving commercial disputes.
  2. Describe and analyse legal rules and principles governing international commercial arbitration, with a particular focus on the UNCITRAL Model Law.
  3. Develop and defend an argument in relation to the interpretation and/or application of legal principles applicable to international commercial arbitration.
  4. Apply legal rules and principles from relevant legal sources (e.g. New York Convention, UNCITRAL Model Law and case law) to complex problem scenarios.
  5. Offer a critical appraisal of legal materials relevant to international commercial arbitration.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Information

1 x summative assessment: Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count (100%)

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWD30128).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.