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Master in Laws (LL.M.)


Programme Overview

Our flagship LL.M programme offers students the opportunity for postgraduate study where they can select modules from a wide range of modules covering many disparate branches of law at national, European and international level. Students can learn about the world of financial services, aviation law or technology law while at the same time having the opportunity to study Islamic law, refugee law or international humanitarian law.

The programme encourages independent learning and innovative thinking in a supportive academic community and attracts students from around the world. It is the perfect programme for students who do not wish to be overly specialised in their postgraduate legal studies while at the same time it enables them to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the law, further develop their research skills and significantly enhance their career prospects both within the legal profession and elsewhere.

Programme Structure

The LL.M. degree is taught over a period of one academic year, commencing in September. The year is divided into two semesters during each of which students are required to take three modules. Each module is offered in one semester only and involves 22 hours of classwork.

Various forms of assessment are utilized in the different modules. Where modules are assessed by way of examination, as the examinations are scheduled at the end of each semester, in December and April/May. Students may be required to take Supplemental examinations in August/September. In addition, all students must complete a research dissertation over the academic year on an approved theme. These dissertations must be submitted on or before end of June.

Programme Outcomes

Having successfully completed this programme, students should be able to:

  • Identify, evaluate and synthesise jurisprudential theories and concepts at a level appropriate to masters graduates;
  • Use appropriate legal theories, doctrines and concepts to identify, formulate, analyse and solve legal problems within national and international contexts;
  • Critically analyse the interplay between law and social change in a variety of different contexts;
  • Conduct effective and targeted research in case law, legislation and academic legal commentary at both national and international levels at a level appropriate to masters graduates;
  • Demonstrate the capacity to conduct effective research and to present the fruits of that research in a coherent and compelling manner.
  • Discuss and debate different perspectives on legal problems, theories and doctrines;
  • Communicate effectively in oral and written modes in professional and academic settings and work effectively in multi-disciplinary settings;
  • Demonstrate flexibility, adaptability and independence in order to engage productively with a changing social, cultural and technological environment;
  • Have the capacity to engage in life-long learning, including vocational training for the legal profession.

European Credit Transfers (ECTS)

Students reading for any taught masters law degree at Trinity College Dublin must study 90 ECTs over the duration of the year long programme. Generally this entails 60 ECTs worth of taught modules and 30 ECTS for the written dissertation. Each module on the LL.M. programmes award 10 ECTS. The ECTS weighting for a module is a measure of the student input or workload required for that module, based on factors such as the number of contact hours, the number and length of written or verbally presented assessment exercises, class preparation and private study time, classes, and examinations. There is no intrinsic relationship between the credit volume of a module and its level of difficulty. In Trinity College Dublin, 1 ECTS unit is defined as 20-25 hours of student input so a 10-credit module will be designed to require 200-250 hours of student input including class contact time, private study and assessments.

LL.M. Modules

We offer a very extensive and diverse range of modules on the LL.M, details of which are set out below.  Each module is worth 10 ECTS credits.

Students must also complete a Research Dissertation (30 ECTS)

*The Law School reserves the right to vary the following list and, in particular, the right to withdraw and add modules. Note that timetabling considerations may also restrict choice.

Advanced Lawyering Techniques

(LA7060) 10 ECTS

The purpose of this module is to impart techniques to improve the analytic, oral, and written presentation abilities of module attendees. The motivation behind this course is that (a) substantive subject areas have grown to the extent that comprehensive information grasp is impossible, and (b) cognitive and rhetorical skills training is not the focus of dedicated development in the undergraduate law curriculum, but is rather assumed to be osmotically absorbed.

Most modules focus on the transfer and testing of knowledge of a substantive area, and many are taught in the traditional way of case-centric, narrative or historic of evolution of substantive law in reaction to developments. In contrast, this module teaches a set of advanced generic thinking skills applicable to the full range of areas of law, and also to many areas of politics and social engagement.

Techniques applicable across most substantive areas of law are introduced, explained, and practiced, without confinement to a specific subject or legal system. Techniques covered in previous courses include advocacy, memory technique, rhetoric and argument, the role of experience, legal writing, sometimes mind mapping, and examination of witnesses


Module Lecturer: Dr Diarmuid Rossa Phelan SC

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African Human Rights Law

(LA7013) 10 ECTS

The course analyses core aspects of African human rights law. It examines the application in the African context of international human rights instruments, with special emphasis on the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and Protocol. It assesses the extent to which the Charter has influenced domestic legal systems in Africa. Several specific human rights themes are examined, including the death penalty, fair trial rights, the right to healthcare, equality issues, prisoner's rights, freedom of expression and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. So far as domestic legal systems are analysed, the emphasis will be on the position in Commonwealth states.

Module Lecturer: Professor William Binchy

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Business & Human Rights

(LA7117) 10 ECTS

Business and Human Rights explores the extent to which multinational corporations and Business and Human rights is concerned with improving the accountability of business for negative impacts on human rights and the environment.  Alongside states’ duties to protect human rights from harm there is  growing awareness amongst stakeholders, policy makers and business leaders that rights respecting business models are needed, particularly when multinational business groups operate in zones of weak governance.

This module explores the adequacy of the existing regulatory framework and emerging trends in international soft law, domestic regulation and transnational private regulation. It considers issues with access to remedy for business related human rights violations within civil and criminal law. The class will study recent cases in the home states of parent companies concerning the alleged involvement or complicity of group related operations in modern slavery, forced land dispossession, extrajudicial killings, and environmental degradation which also affects livelihoods. Lecture themes include legal and practical barriers to remedy, corporate responsibilities to conduct human rights due diligence, parent company duty of care, and the ongoing negotiations on a legally binding international treaty on Business and Human Rights.

Within this unfolding area, the objective is to explore existing challenges and encourage students to consider how states, international institutions and business could prevent violations and improve access to remedy for victims.

Module Lecturer: Ms Rachel Widdis

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The Chinese Legal System In Comparative Perspective

(LA7080) 10 ECTS

The Chinese legal system is of great interest from a comparative law perspective. Law in China had a completely different role traditionally from that in Western society. During the early decades of the 20th century, Western influences predominated. In the years since the establishment of the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1949, the role of law has undergone successive radical changes as China’s social and economic order and its place in the world have been so profoundly transformed. The module examines the contemporary legal system in China. It analyses its constitutional and administrative law foundations, its economic law, intellectual property, tort code and criminal justice norms and practices. It considers how public and private international law fit into the Chinese legal system and addresses issues of human rights and the wider debate on cultural relativism.

Module Lecturer: Professor William Binchy

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Comparative Constitutional Law and Theory

(LA7085) 10 ECTS

This module explores theoretical understandings of constitutional law, partly through a focus on issues in comparative law and methodology and partly through a focus on comparative materials. The module will appeal to students interested in constitutional law, jurisprudence and comparative law.

The introductory portion of the module see the introduction of various views and theories of comparison, to explore what we think comparative law and should do, and consider the benefits and pitfalls of comparative law in the constitutional context in particular. This will ground the substantive classes to follow.

The first substantive part of the module will explore jurisprudential and theoretical understandings of constitution making and constitutional change. It will look at how constitutions are made, and how narratives about the origins and values of constitutions shapes how those documents are viewed and used in their native legal and political system. It will explore different modes and manners of constitutional change, and different ways in which constitutional change might come about, taking a particular change in values – same sex marriage – and looking at how it came about in four different jurisdictions.

The second substantive part of the module will explore foundational questions of constitution-making: who has the authority to make a constitution? How do we connect a legal system to a particular territory and a particular people?

The third substantive part of the module will explore the current challenge posed by democratic backsliding and threats to the rule of law. We will question whether there is a global crisis in constitutional democracy and, if so, what are its causes and how can it be addressed.

The final substantive part of the module will explore the question of whether constitutional amendment should be constrained. It will explore two phenomena in comparative constitutional law – that of constitutions making certain provisions unamendable and that of courts deciding that certain amendments are unconstitutional. We shall review recent attempts in the academic literature to make sense of these phenomena. This shall relate the questions of constitutional foundations and constitutional change to the practical challenge of democratic back-sliding.

Module Lecturer: Dr Oran Doyle

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Comparative Product Liability: Common Law, EU and US Perspectives

(LA7086) 10 ECTS

Comparative Product Liability explores the extent to which manufacturers (and other businesses in the supply chain) are liable for injuries caused by defects in products. In examining selected areas of product liability law in the Common Law World, the EU and the US respectively, this comparative course is designed to afford participants with insights into how social and economic factors, as well as legal culture, have shaped the differences between the three legal regimes.

Issues to receive special emphasis in the context of this module will include the concept of a producer, the definition of defectiveness, the significance of instructions for use and danger warnings, the manufacturing defect/design flaw dichotomy, development risks, the heads of recoverable damages, the running of time in product liability claims.

Module Lecturer: Mr. Alex Schuster BL

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Contemporary Issues in EU Law

(LA7120) 10 ECTS

In an era in which the powers of the EU and the actions taken by Member States pursuant to EU law are ever-expanding, the focus of this module will be on contemporary issues in EU law. The module will be suitable for both those who have studied EU law previously and those who have not. Following a brief introduction to critical aspects of EU law, the module will focus on contemporary questions and challenges facing the EU. It will consider the following: ((1) fundamental principles of EU law; (2) access to judicial remedies in EU law;(3) human rights in the EU and the impact of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; (4) Brexit; (5) data protection; (6) social welfare and citizenship; (7) State aid and taxation.

Module Lecturer: Dr. Catherine Donnelly

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Contemporary Issues in International Law

(LA7100) 10 ECTS

The promise of a world public order based on international law remains elusive in the face of old and new threats to peace and prosperity. States have an international obligation to pursue the peaceful settlement of their disputes, but the extent to which many global problems can be addressed effectively by international law is an open question. This module will give students a theoretical and practical understanding of how international law addresses a range of contemporary problems, such as the use of force, responses to mass atrocity, weapons of mass destruction, and disputes over territory and resources. Students will consider how international law has evolved to deal with these problems and the dilemmas that policy-makers face when trying to balance legal, political and normative considerations. The topics will be explored through primary materials and selected academic literature, and students will give short in-class presentations. Overall, the module will provide an opportunity to explore and evaluate the fluid relationship between international law and politics in the context of real-world problems.

Module Lecturer: Mr Michael Becker

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Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law

(LA7121) 10 ECTS

As the global refugee crisis continues, this course offers a timely opportunity to engage with the complex interaction of international and regional frameworks concerning forced migrants. The course will focus on contemporary issues in refugee law, including the right to asylum and safe passage, non-refoulement, the particular social group in refugee law, complementary protection, exclusion from protection, child refugees, durable solutions (including resettlement and relocation) and the externalisation of protection. 

Module Lecturer: Dr. Patricia Brazil / Dr. Samantha Arnold

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Copyright and Innovation

(LA7090) 10 ECTS

On the one hand, copyright law is often justified on the basis that it incentivizes authors to create beneficial works. On the other, it is just as often criticized on the basis that these protections unnecessarily restrict further innovation. This tension is most apparent in the context of information and communications technology.

Module Lecturer: Dr. Eoin O'Dell

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Corporate Governance in the EU

(LA7028) 10 ECTS

The term “corporate governance” refers to the “procedures and processes according to which an organisation is directed and controlled”. This module will examine the regulatory and market structures in the EU which specify the distribution of rights and responsibilities among different participants in the organisation – such as the board, management, shareholders, employees and other stakeholders – and which lay down the rules and procedures for decision-making. Corporate law theory, financial theory and behavioural economics theory will be used to develop an understanding of the rationale for these structures and rules and, in some cases, their failure to meet their desired objectives. These theories will also be contextualized and current controversial topics such as board culture, board pay, board diversity, corporate ethics, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance in banks will be explored. The module will distinguish between “shareholder-oriented, Anglo-American governance regimes” which may be said to exist in the UK and Ireland and the more inclusive more stakeholder-oriented regimes which exist in Germany and other continental European countries. The impact of the Global Financial Crisis and Brexit will also be considered as will the role of corporate law in the social market economy. Reference will be made to both hard law and soft law in the corporate governance field with an emphasis on EU regulation. Throughout the module, consideration will be given to two core questions: What are the desired aims of corporate governance? What are the most efficient and appropriate forms of regulation to achieve these aims? 

A maximum of 25 students is permitted on this module and places are assigned in order of registration.

Module Lecturer: Professor Blanaid Clarke

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Data Protection: Law, Policy and Practice

(LA7122) 10 ECTS

In recent years, data protection has gained a high public profile and has become a dynamic and important area of legal practice. With the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force in May 2018, the legal landscape of data protection is undergoing significant and far-reaching change. The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to this changing framework for data protection, combining perspectives from law, policy and practice so as to give students a well-rounded understanding of this fast-moving field. This course will explore the key concepts and current issues in data protection, including: the principles of data protection; the rights of data subjects, including the right to be forgotten; the accountability of data controllers and processors; the challenge of international data transfers; the systems for enforcement and compliance. In addition to the course coordinators, students will benefit from guest lectures from leading experts in data protection law, policy and practice. 

Module Lecturer: Dr. David Fennelly, Dr. Eoin O'Dell

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The Digital Society - Information Technology, Law and Society

(LA7124) 10 ECTS

We are living in the age of information. New technologies are coming to market frequently without regulatory oversight or pre-market review. Many of these technologies rely on the collection, storage, and transmission of personal data and often pose risks to privacy. They also often raises issues for consumer protection. This course is intended as a survey course. It will cover a number of topics, ranging from the use of electronic contracts to discussion of a number of new technologies, We will also consider examples of consumer healthcare technology. This course will also consider approaches to regulation, the societal impact of technologies, ethical issues raised by technologies, and a number of other issues.

The intention here is to encourage you to consider how we can regulate technology appropriately and to question the uses of particular technologies. While at present there has often been reluctance to regulate the aim here is to challenge you to think about how we can improve the law for the benefit of society.

Module Lecturer: Dr Ewa Komorek

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EU Aviation Law

(LA7076) 10 ECTS

Out of all transport modes in Europe, air transport has experienced the fastest growth in recent years. It makes a key contribution to the European economy and plays a vital role in regional development and integration of Europe, as well as ensures connectivity with the rest of the world. This is largely due to the work of the European Union and the creation of a single market for aviation.

This module deals with EU laws, policies and case law in the field of air transport. Main topics include the liberalisation of air transport and the creation of the internal market for aviation; the European safety and security policies; the protection of passenger rights; the protection of the environment; and the application of EU competition law to air transport industry. The relations of the EU with third countries, following the European Court's of Justice 'Open Skies' judgments, are also addressed. Guest lectures are provided by industry experts from i.a. United Airlines, Ryanair, INCE law firm (Paris) and Stephenson Harwood law firm (London). Internship opportunities are provided for students achieving best result in the exam.

Module Lecturer: Dr Ewa Komorek

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EU Competition Law

(LA7010) 10 ECTS

A, Purpose. To teach (i) European competition law (ii) familiarity with primary legal materials (iii) analytical lawyering ability. The module innovates in basing itself on primary materials published by the EU, of which an online manual is composed, such as Treaty Articles, Regulations and Directives, and extending to official Notices and Vade Mecum. It eschews heavy reliance on academic commentary and case law analysis, with some exceptions for illustrative purposes. The purpose of the module is threefold. First, acquaintance with the subject matter. Second, skills training in the reading and analysis of primary materials, such as Regulation 1/2003 Third, the development of independent critical and scholarly argument and exposition based on the primary materials. Students should be aware that this module does not follow textbooks but looks directly to primary instruments and moves from instrument to instrument, rather than primarily thematically.

Substantive EU competition law. Articles 101-106 (TFEU). Areas not covered are Mergers, State Aids, and great detail about procedures before the European Commission. Many primary documents are covered. The focus is on these. There is relatively little focus on the case law of the Court of Justice or on secondary literature. By this means, the course may be taken by those with experience of EU competition law, and those with none. Students from outside Europe with no acquaintance of the EU institutional and treaty framework may take the course without notable disadvantage, provided they do some primer reading in the first two weeks.

Pre-Requisite: Students should be acquainted with EU law prior to taking this module or should consult with the module lecturer to ascertain whether this module is appropriate for them.

Module Lecturer: Dr Diarmuid Rossa Phelan SC

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EU Consumer Law

(LA7042) 10 ECTS

The EU is comprised of circa 500 million consumers based in 28 different countries. Although drawn from different traditions and cultures, all of these myriad consumers are supposedly the ultimate beneficiaries of the process of market integration in the EU (insofar as that marketplace provides them with high quality goods and services at optimal prices).

A closely related issue is whether the blueprint for EU law and policy in the consumer field has been adequately designed to turn its 500 million consumers from market passengers into market drivers. With all of this in mind, the course focuses on the following subject areas:

  1. The Evolution of EU Consumer Law and Policy;
  2. The Concept of a ‘Consumer’;
  3. Consumer Contract Law;
  4. Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts;
  5. Consumer Sales, Supply of Services and Guarantees ;
  6. Product Liability and Product Safety;
  7. EU Travel and Tourism law;
  8. Consumer Rights (including Electronic Commerce)
  9. Unfair Commercial Practices;
  10. Litigation, Redress and Enforcement;
  11. Competition Policy and EU Consumers.

Module Lecturer: Mr. Alex Schuster BL

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EU Digital Single Market (Media and Content Regulation)

(LA7123) 10 ECTS

The European media landscape is following a transformation, characterised by a steady increase of convergence of media services, with a visible move towards intertwining traditional broadcast and internet. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are revolutionising the development and distribution of information today, giving a unique chance to better create and market European content.

To function optimally, a "single European digital media market" needs a minimum set of common rules. To this end the module would analyse the European Commission’s regulatory efforts in three fields (three EU media policies within the Single Digital Market):

Audiovisual and Media – the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) which created single European market for audiovisual media services. The Directive is currently under review to bring it in line with the new digital realities.

Media Freedom and Pluralism in the Digital Age – providing safeguards for media transparency, freedom and diversity remains vital in Europe's rapidly changing media landscape

Media literacy – the European Commission is pursuing several actions in this field aimed at increasing the critical thinking towards the media among EU citizens, including the ability to distinguish information from propaganda, to deconstruct media communication and to interact with social media in a mindful way.

It is recommended that students who wish to take this module have basic familiarity with general principles of EU law.

Module Lecturer: Dr Ewa Komorek

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EU Financial Services Law

(LA7025) 10 ECTS

This module is a survey of the primary principles in the regulation of financial service providers within the EU (and Ireland).We will look at past, current and future development of banking, securities, occupational pension and insurance regulation, such as:

  • impact of regulation on the provision of financial services;
  • standardisation and harmonisation of law;
  • coordination and cooperation among Member States; and
  • comingling of sectors and resultant issues.

with regards to the following subject matter:

  • Major Concepts — The Single Market; Freedom of Movement of Capital; Prudential Supervision; Mutual Recognition, Risk and Risk Management; Capital Adequacy
  • Regulation of EU Banking — Introduction to the Single Supervisory Mechanism; the Single Resolution Mechanism; Authorisation; Capital Requirements; Reporting
  • Regulation of EU Securities — Introduction to the Securities and Collective Investment Scheme Directives; Regulated Markets & Trading; Authorisation; Capital Requirements; Reporting; Market Abuse
  • Regulation of Pensions and Investments — Introduction to Occupational Pension Directives; Portability and Other Issues
  • Regulation of Insurance — Introduction to Insurance Directives; Capital Requirements; Reporting;
  • Cross-sectoral issues.

Module Lecturer: Mr. Donald MacLean

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European Trade Mark and Design Law

(LA7093) 10 ECTS

This module will cover EU Trade Mark Law and will focus on Community Directives and Regulations and the enforcement and protection of these rights within the EU including . We will also consider the Trade Mark Recast Directive and the changes anticipated. The module will analyse legislation in light of relevant case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and will consider the criteria for obtaining protection for a trade mark, as well as the limits to protection in the content of infringement proceedings. The module will consider the variety of forms of registration available for trade marks within the EU as well as revocation and proceedings for invalidity. Topics covered include: the acquisition of trade marks; the rights conferred by a trade mark and the limits to those rights under EU Law. The module will also addresses other issues affecting the use of trade marks, including in particular, the law on misleading and comparative advertising and the law on unfair commercial practices, the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin and the relationship between trade marks and domain names. It will also deal with parallel importations and exhaustion of rights. This module will also examine the registered trade mark and design regimes at an EU and national level.

Module Lecturer: Dr Gemma O'Farrell

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Freedom of Expression and Intellectual Property

(LA7091) 10 ECTS

Most Intellectual Property rules are restrictions upon Freedom of Expression. For example, copyright law, trademark law and the equitable doctrine of breach of confidence can prevent people from publishing words, images, music, and so on. The module examines the policies which underlie IP protections, and to measure them against countervailing constitutional considerations such as Freedom of Expression.

Module Lecturer: Dr. Eoin O'Dell

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Globalisation & Law

(LA7034) 10 ECTS

In the present era of globalisation, we are witnessing the collapse of national barriers in the face of the international movement of capital, workers, commodities, ideas and communications of every kind. The ending of the Cold War, the increasing power of international corporations, the development of information technology and the expansion of air travel have had a huge impact in changing global culture and on our understanding of law. The traditional models of nation-states and international law have given way to challenges to the concept of sovereignty, the development of international human rights tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court, the extension of new international legal rights and duties to non-state actors and the development of new models of global administrative regulation.

The course on Globalisation and Law seeks to examine these developments in order to gain new insights into the nature and purpose of law. It analyses how globalisation has changed traditional approaches to public and private international law, human rights law, international trade law, freedom of expression (in relation to such matters as defamation, pornography and incitement to hatred), political dissent, terrorism and cultural and religious diversity.

Module Lecturer: Professor William Binchy

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International and European Copyright Law and Policy

(LA7092) 10 ECTS

This module sheds light on how international and EU legislative instruments, from the end of the 19th century onwards, have sought to ensure an effective and uniform recognition, enforcement and exploitation of copyright and related rights. The module aims at analyzing and critically evaluating the most important principles of artistic and literary property embodied in the Berne Convention, the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement, the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) ‘Internet’ treaties and several EU directives that, while seeking to harmonize national laws on copyright from the early 1990s onwards, embody measures of industrial, innovation and cultural policy. A particular emphasis will be placed on the modernization of legislation and on the technological aspects of copyright and its enforcement with the purpose to evaluate the validity and desirability of rules and principles that have been challenged by the advent of digitization and by an increasingly borderless and intangible access to creative works via web-based content platforms and social networks. Classes are designed to foster interactivity through a combination of lectures, discussions and analysis of a selection of relevant cases and policy documents. Participation in class discussion of each of the topics covered is encouraged, and is facilitated by the availability of a forum on Blackboard. Students will be provided with constructive feedback both from their fellow students and the lecturer.

Module Lecturer: Ms Elizabeth Farries

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International Aviation Law

(LA7097) 10 ECTS

As noted by E.M. Giemulla, ‘Aviation is a transnational, border-crossing phenomenon. Without aviation, the globalisation of the flow of people and goods, and of the mixing of cultures would have been impossible. Without aviation, the global awareness that we all live together on one planet could not have developed’ (International and EU Aviation Law, Kluwer Law International 2011) From its conception in the early 20th century, aviation has been the matter of international concern. The increasing number of legal issues in this area led to the adoption of numerous international measures.

This module explains the history of international aviation law and examines the international legal framework governing civil aviation. Particular attention is paid to the 1944 Chicago Convention which is a cornerstone governing international civil aviation. The course topics also cover the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the 1929 Warsaw Convention and 1999 Montréal Convention on carriers’ liability, the 1963 Tokyo Convention on crimes committed on board aircraft and the 1970 Hague Convention on the unlawful seizure of aircraft (the ‘Hijacking Convention’). The course finishes with the analysis of the regulation of international interests in mobile equipment (2001 Cape Town Convention) and aviation liability insurance. Guest lectures are provided by industry experts from i.a. the Irish Aviation Authority, Air Accident Investigation Unit, INCE law firm, Paris. Internship opportunities are provided for students achieving best results in the essay/exam.

Module Lecturer: Dr Ewa Komorek

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International Business Tax Law

(LA7031) 10 ECTS

The tax environment in which transnational corporations operate has given rise to increasing challenges in recent years with inquiries by legislatures into corporate tax arrangements, investigations by the E.U. Commission as to whether certain tax arrangements constitute State Aid, lobbying by N.G.O.’s and activist groups in relation to the impact of the tax policies of O.E.C.D. members on developing economies and reputational damage following disclosures brought about by investigative journalism. National tax policy makers have faced challenges too, in particular in dealing with the growing importance of intellectual property rights, web-based business models and the impact of tax havens on their revenue base. International Business Tax Law explores these issues and their impact on international business

Module Lecturer: Mr. Niall O'Hanlon BL

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International Criminal Law

(LA7051) 10 ECTS

International criminal justice is one of the most rapidly developing areas of international law and practice. This course examines the evolution of the field through its three generations of trials: Nuremberg and Tokyo; the ad hoc Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and hybrid‚ internationalised courts such as those for Sierra Leone and Cambodia; and the International Criminal Court. Topics will include the elements of international crimes, jurisdiction, criminal responsibility, rules of evidence and procedure, as well as the challenges of investigating and prosecuting extreme crimes. The course will examine some of the most significant war crimes trials of our era, as well as the historical, political and institutional context within which the international criminal justice system operates.

Module Lecturer: Dr. Rosemary Byrne

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International Dispute Resolution

(LA7068) 10 ECTS

The module compares and contrasts the various available dispute resolution methods in an international context. The course focuses on the function of international courts and tribunals, dwelling on the issues of state sovereignty, conflict of jurisdictions and conflict of laws while studying the relevant applicable international conventions and regulations. The module also compares traditional methods of dispute resolution with alternative methods such as arbitration and mediation, including a case study on the resolution of international sports disputes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Module Lecturer: Ms Louise J Reilly

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International Economic Law

(LA7007) 10 ECTS

International Economic Law concerns the legal rules relating to trade between states. The course focuses on the organisations put in place to regulate economic relationships between states most notably, the World Trade Organisation and the international treaties, which it enforces such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The course examines trade in goods, services and the international regulation of intellectual property. Consideration is given to the international rules governing free trade such as most favoured nation status, national treatment rules and rules against tariff discrimination and other barriers to inter-state trade. Defences to breaches of these rules will be looked at. Finally, the negotiation of trade agreements and the rules relating to international trade disputes are reviewed.

Module Lecturer: Mr. TP Kennedy

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International and European Human Rights Law

(LA7001) 10 ECTS

This course examines various aspects of international human rights law, and discusses the general themes of which human rights can and should be protected by the international legal order, for example, whether the international community should attempt to regulate the cultural practice of female circumcision. Particular emphasis is placed on the European Convention on Human Rights, which is often described as the most successful human rights system in the world. The course examines the institutional structure of the ECHR system and also certain substantive rights protected by the ECHR, such as freedom from torture, freedom of expression, and family rights. The likely impact of incorporation of the ECHR into Irish law, potentially a very significant development, is also considered.

Module Lecturer: Ms. Grainne Mullan BL

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International Humanitarian Law

(LA7072) 10 ECTS

Warfare is as old as humanity itself, but as long as there has been war, there have been customary practices intended to limit the effects of violence for humanitarian reasons. In the last 150 years, States have agreed to codify these practices as international law. The body of rules now known as international humanitarian law (IHL) applies only in time of armed conflict or occupation. IHL aims to define the rights and obligations of the warring parties and to protect people who are not taking part in hostilities.

This course is intended to familiarise students with the rules and principles of IHL as well as with the complex regime by which they are enforced. The course is divided across eleven teaching weeks, with two hours of lectures per week. The course begins with an introduction to IHL and to the law’s historical development. There follows an exploration of the sources of IHL and the scope of its application. The course then examines the protection that the law provides to the victims of both international and non-international armed conflicts. The focus here is on modern conflicts such as those taking place in Ukraine and Syria. The course will also address the limits established by the law on the means and methods of war which may be selected by belligerents in time of armed conflict. Students will have an opportunity to explore and discuss the implementation and enforcement of IHL by State and non-State actors, domestically and on the international stage. The course concludes with an analysis of the diverse challenges posed to IHL today, from cyber-attacks to Islamic State.

Module Lecturer: Mr Colin Smith BL

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International Trade Law

(LA7050) 10 ECTS

International Trade Law draws on issues of International Economic Law and Public International Law. This module examines a number of controversial trade issues and considers the approach of law and regulation to them.  The module commences with a consideration of the issue of development and the special rules applicable to developing nations. It then moves on to look at the issues surrounding international trade and agriculture, issues surrounding the regulation of international intellectual property, rules relating to foreign investment and the conflicts that can arise between international environmental law and international trade law.

Module Lecturer: Mr. TP Kennedy

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Islamic Law

(LA7065) 10 ECTS

With the increasing Islamic population both in Ireland and globally, the study of Islamic law is both timely and interesting. In this module, we consider first the sources and history of Sharia law and the implications of the operation of a system which derives its authority from an omnipotent and infallible God. We also consider the geographical reach of Islamic law and the various ways in which it is applied in different jurisdictions. We then turn to consider two controversial aspects of Islamic law, namely the relationship between Islamic law and modern conceptions of Human Rights and the concept of Islamic finance, that is, the efforts to try to create new and innovative methods of engaging in commerce which are compliant with Sharia Law. 

Module Lecturer: Professor Neville Cox

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Judicial Review & Human Rights: Theory & Practice

(LA7066) 10 ECTS

This course examines the role played by the courts in protecting, promoting and defining human rights in domestic legal systems. Most common law jurisdictions provide for litigable human rights through constitutions or other fundamental rights documents. In many instances, these rights can be asserted against primary legislation as well as executive or administrative decisions. The judiciary is charged with the task of deciding these specialised disputes between the individual and the state. (For the purposes of this course, the term ‘judicial review’ is given its broad definition which includes challenges to legislation as well as administrative decisions).

Human rights adjudication gives rise to numerous theoretical and practical issues of law and politics, which are discussed in this course. Key issues addressed include:

  • The desirability and dangers of 'judicialisation' of human rights
  • The relationship between the courts and other branches of government in the context of human rights protection
  • The consequences of a finding that government action violates human rights
  • The role that the judiciary play in promoting a 'human rights culture'
  • Obstacles for human rights litigants

Throughout this module, a critical approach is taken to the appropriateness and efficacy of placing the courts' process and the judiciary at the centre of human rights protection. The module draws on sources from common law jurisdictions, including Ireland, the UK and Canada.

Module Pre-Requisite - Students must have previously studied the constitutional law of at least one common law State.

Module Lecturer: Dr. Alan D.P. Brady BL

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Law and Bioethics

(LA7081) 10 ECTS

Bioethics is the study of the ethical and moral implications of new biological discoveries and biomedical advances. This module examines the way in which law should respond to the challenges presented by these advances and, in particular, the extent to which the state should regulate individual access to certain technologies. Students are expected to read in advance of class and encouraged to engage in discussion with a view to developing their understanding of these controversial issues. As well as using traditional legal materials the course will draw on relevant work from the fields of philosophy, sociology and politics. The topics covered will include the sale and mandatory donation of organs, issues in assisted human reproduction such as surrogacy and donor anonymity, assisted suicide, genetic enhancement and diminishment, and intellectual property in human genetic material.

Module Lecturer: Dr. Andrea Mulligan

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Law and Risk

(LA7118) 10 ECTS

The word ‘risk’ is now everywhere. Whether one considers media reports, regulatory decisions or commercial transactions, there is inevitably mention of some form of risk: climate risk, credit risk, health risk, security risk, risks of migration. Such references are accompanied by actions taken by agents in different professional and governing capacities: risk assessment, risk communication, risk management, mitigation of risk. The governance of danger, however, is surely not a recent development. What, then, has changed? It is time to take a step back, explore the concept of risk and how it may be governed.

The governance of risk balances a fundamental tension between the danger of the unknown on one hand, and the ability to anticipate and control the unknown on the other. Understanding and institutionalising the anticipation and control of the unknown requires hard theoretical, political and technical choices. This module concentrates on how law shapes and responds to the prevalence of risk in private and public action. Given the array of legal tools to deal with risk, the module will cover conventional approaches such as command-and-control regulation as well as more recent approaches derived from Behavioural Law & Economics. This module will engage with some central themes of risk regulation, and allow the participants to analyse aspects of risk in their chosen areas of inquiry such as financial law, environmental law and health law. 

Module Lecturer: Mr. Suryapratim Roy

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Mergers and Acquisitions

(LA7128) 10 ECTS

The continuous growth of the financial sector and its ability to channel large amounts of funds in a short time and the quest of companies for global expansions have led to the constant rise of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. The total value of global deal-making exceeded 3 trillion dollars in 2017. While North America still accounts for 44% of global M&A volume, Europe has been witnessing an exponential increase in M&A activity with European activity reaching 27% of total deal-making. 

The aim of this module is to equip students with a sound understanding of the business drivers of M&A transactions and the legal regime governing them. The module will predominantly focus on the European and Irish M&A landscape. Topics covered include the market for corporate control, domestic and cross-border mergers and their regulation in the E.U., takeover regulation in the E.U. and Ireland and takeover defense tactics. The module will also include practitioner talks.

Module Lecturer: Dr. Alexandros Seretakis

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National Security Law

(LA7126) 10 ECTS

This module will explore the growth of national security law as a discipline, and in particular the rule of law and human rights concerns that are in tension.  The course will have an international emphasis, with considerable examination of the UK, and other major common law countries’ experiences dealing with national security law issues.

In addition, the module will examine Irish law and practice where it touches on national security law issues, and will include examination of evidentiary concepts including informer and public interest privilege that are invoked when national security considerations are at play.

Module Lecturer: Mr Eoin O'Connor

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Patent Law in the Globalized World

(LA7106) 10 ECTS

Present day business activities increasingly take place at an international level, with technology and information no longer confined to national borders. Science and technology companies, in particular, operate in this multinational environment and for these companies, patent rights are crucial.
With the progression of globalization, IP students and practitioners need to be aware of the variations in patent law in the key markets around the world, and also need to be prepared to respond to a variety of problems that only arise in the context of multi-jurisdictional patenting activities. This module takes a practical look at patent law in key international territories: principally in Europe (on a national and regional level), the US and in Asia. As a relevant backdrop to this landscape, the principles, treaties and institutions that attempt to regulate and harmonise patent rights at the international level are also considered. Opportunity permitting, practitioners with different expertise may be invited as guest speakers to address certain topics in detail.

Module Lecturer: Mr. Naoise Gaffney

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Principles of Commercial Arbitration

(LA7083) 10 ECTS

The module explores arbitration as a means of resolving commercial disputes without recourse to the courts, particularly in an international context.  The balancing of public policy considerations, such as party autonomy and access to justice, is traced through the legal framework for, and practice of, the resolution of commercial disputes by arbitration.  The module compares and contrasts arbitration with litigation.

Module Lecturer: Mr. Barry Mansfield BL

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Regulation of Alternative Investment Funds

(LA7127) 10 ECTS

From Soros’ landmark bet against the British pound in 1992 to John Paulson’s big short against the US housing market in 2007, alternative investment funds have long attracted the covert admiration and suspicion of politicians, regulators and the public. The opaque nature of the alternative investment fund industry, its alleged role in major crises around the world and a perceived lack of investor protection have repeatedly led to calls for greater regulation of alternative investment funds. 

The aim of this module is to offer an introduction to the world of alternative investment funds, in particular hedge funds and private equity funds, and their regulation and equip students with a sound understanding of the business model of alternative investment funds and the regulatory regime governing them. The module will examine the benefits offered and the dangers posed by alternative investment funds and assess the rationales for their regulation. Furthermore, the course will focus on the regulation of alternative investment funds in the EU comparing the approach adopted by EU lawmakers with the one adopted by the US, the largest market for alternative investment funds. The module is designed for students interested in financial markets and the growing field of law and finance. 

Module Lecturer: Dr. Alexandros Seretakis

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Transitional Justice

(LA7073) 10 ECTS

Transitional justice comprises the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. The course examines transitional justice and the legal, moral, and political challenges facing countries in transition from armed conflict or dictatorships.

The course considers strategies including prosecutions, truth commissions, reparation programs, vetting, institutional reforms and reconciliation programs. It first examines the nature of these strategies in a historical perspective and their evolution in the 20th century. It also addresses the theoretical claims and concepts involved in transitional justice as a body of law and social enterprise. The course explores the precise nature of the international law obligations that arise following the commission of gross violations of human rights, including the obligation on States to prosecute perpetrators and the right of victims to receive truth and reparations about such violations. In addition, the course looks at the role and impact of international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, as well as the work of regional human rights tribunals. It also identifies the significant practical and social obstacles to pursuing these goals in the context of transition, including the continued viability of amnesty for gross violations of human rights. The course makes use of case studies such as South Africa, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and Peru to illustrate the radical and dynamic country experience of transitional justice.

Module Lecturer: Dr James Gallen

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Research Dissertation

(LA7047) 30 ECTS

All LL.M students must complete a dissertation as part of their LL.M degree at Trinity College Dublin. This is intended to be self-directed research with broad guidance given in the manner described below. Students are presented with a number of thematic groups, most led by an academic with a research interest in that broad area, at the start of August. Students will be able to choose a group based on the research dissertation that they wish to pursue, indicating a number of preferences. The research group chosen must relate to the particular LL.M programme being undertaken.  They will be assigned into groups on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be a maximum of 10-12 students in each group.

The dissertation groups, including all students and the academic leader, will meet on three occasions during the first semester and two occasions during the second semester. All students will also be provided with generic lectures and skills training during the first semester. The academic leader will provide individual feedback electronically on the research plan, a sample of writing and the final plan for the dissertation. In the dissertation groups, students will make presentations of their work and provide feedback to one another, facilitated by the academic leader. The academic leader will, in consultation with the students, assign them into sub-groups of three or four to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and mutual support outside the classroom.

There will be an opportunity for one individual meeting with the academic leader during May to review progress on the dissertation. The academic leader will not review written work during this meeting.

The dissertation will be due for submission at the end of June. The word limit for the dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words, excluding footnotes.

Module Learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Complete a substantial dissertation based on independent, largely self-directed research;
  • Work effectively under the guidance of a research academic leader and collaborate within themed workgroups;
  • Conduct effective and targeted research of the full range of primary and secondary legal sources on a particular topic;
  • Critically assess in writing legal theories, concepts and doctrines;
  • Discuss and critique in writing different perspectives on law;
  • Determine the scope and structure of a research project and establish a viable research plan;
  • Identify, discuss and debate various research methodologies; and
  • Present arguments in a coherent manner written in a clear style and a coherent conclusion that follows correctly from the analysis.


Module Aims:

The aim of the research dissertation module is to encourage students to engage in largely self-driven research and writing leading to the completion of an analytical and critical piece of research. While students are proceeding under the direction of an academic leader who is a member of the Law School staff, to successfully complete the dissertation, a student should be capable of carrying out independent research and writing and working in a timely fashion in order to meet the deadline for submission of the dissertation.

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LL.M. Course Office:

Ms Kelley McCabe, School of Law, Trinity College, Dublin 2
Tel (Country Code + 353) (01) 679 2392; Fax (Country Code + 353) (01) 677 0449; Email


This page was last updated by Kelley McCabe