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Private international law in international commercial litigation


The first module of this course looks at the largely theoretical aspects of private international law. In contrast to many other areas of law, theory has remained and continues to play a very important part particularly in the United States. As the course takes a comparative approach, looking at the law in the EU and in the US it’s very important to understand the different conceptual basis’s that exist in these different jurisdictions. It is also important to understand the rules of applicable law are important to all aspects of international commercial litigation – something that arises from many different international commercial deals. This course also covers the enforcement of judgments when parties from different jurisdictions are involved. The course as a whole tries to take you through those various elements of private international law; the theory, jurisdiction, applicable law and finally enforcement of judgements.

Module A: Introduction to private international law in international commercial litigation


  • History of private international law
  • The individualist theories of private international law
  • The state theories of private international law
  • The economic theories of private international law

Module B: Jurisdiction and competence of courts in private international law


  • Introduction to the jurisdiction and competence of courts
  • The Brussels Regulation (No. 44/2001) system
  • The rules of jurisdiction in England and Wales
  • The rules and restrictions on jurisdiction in the United States
  • Insolvency under Regulation (EC) No. 1346/2000

Module C: Applicable law in private international law


  • Introduction to applicable law
  • Rome I Regulation and the Rome Convention
  • Rome II Regulation
  • Other choice of law rules in England and Wales
  • The rule for applicable law under the Insolvency Regulation
  • Choice of law in the United States

Module D: Recognition and enforcement of judgments in private international law


  • Introduction and considerations for the enforcement of foreign judgments
  • The recognition and enforcement of judgments under the Brussels Regulation
  • Other European regimes
  • The enforcement of judgments in England and Wales
  • The approach of the United States to the enforcement of judgements


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you complete Module A.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Comparative and Foreign Law
  • Corporate and Securities Law
  • International Business Law
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • Procedural Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Academic Co-ordinator

Professor Phillip Johnson

Professor Phillip Johnson

Phillip Johnson is the Professor of Commercial Law at Cardiff Law School. His main area of interest is intellectual property law, but he additionally has interests in sports and entertainment law, private international law and UK and EU public law.

He is a practising barrister at the Intellectual Property Bar, and a member of the Irish Bar, the Californian Bar and the Washington DC Bar. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the American Bar Association as well as the Intellectual Property Bar Association. As an Appointed Person (tribunal judge), he hears appeals from the Intellectual Property Office on trade marks and design disputes.

He has consulted to the UK Intellectual Property Office, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, foreign governments, as well as industry, and he has given expert evidence in foreign proceedings.

As a practising barrister, he has advised well-known fashion brands, pharmaceutical and agriculture companies, broadcasters and publishers as well as national newspapers and celebrity magazines.