Transnational Commercial Law I

Teaching hours and credit allocation: 30 hours, 6 credits

The aim of this module is to enable students to understand the legal challenges in the context of transnational commerce. The extensive growth of international trade and the integration of markets since WWII have led to the internationalisation of the institutional and legal framework on trade and investment. Thus, transnational commercial law has evolved rapidly and it has become a key component of globalisation. Transnational commercial law covers a variety of topics, from the legal framework on the international trading of goods to the regulation of complex financial transactions. Students will explore the institutional framework for trade relations between nations and the theoretical debate on liberalising trade barriers. The focus will also be on transactions between parties from different countries, transactions governed by national legislation and by international instruments, such as the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The module also addresses the work of international organisations on the harmonisation of international commercial law. Reference will be made to, and comparisons will be drawn between various legal systems, where appropriate. Thus, students will gain a good understanding of practical issues and legal problems surrounding international trade and investments, as well as their economic and legal implications from the investor’s and the regulator’s point of view.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • understand the main branches of knowledge, of which transnational commercial law is comprised;
  • Explore the roots of modern transnational commercial law and appreciate its fast-paced development;
  • Explore the legal sources of international economic law (statutory and customary law, bilateral and multilateral treaties, etc.), as well as its main principles and practices;
  • Explain the rights and obligations arising between the parties of transnational commercial transactions;
  • Approach the study of relevant legislation, cases and international agreements in an analytical and systematic way.


  • The historical development of transnational commercial law since the Havana Charter and the Atlantic Charter;
  • An introduction to the main branches of transnational commercial law (international trading of goods, foreign investment law, international banking and financial law, international intellectual property law, international taxation law);
  • The theoretical debate: liberal policies vs. state interventionism in the markets;
  • The globalization phenomena from a legal perspective; trade theories and policies;
  • Trade barriers; the advantages of multilateral trade negotiations;
  • An introduction to the international institutional framework; establishment and role of important international organizations, such as the IMF, World Bank, EBRD, WIPO, WTO, ILO, OECD, African Union, the regional development banks, UNIDO;
  • The economic aims of the Charter of the United Nations;
  • The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG);
  • Regional trade blocs and regional economic integration initiatives: EU, NAFTA, MERCOSUR, ASEAN;
  • The unification of international commercial law: UNCITRAL Model Laws, UNIDROIT Principles, Conventions of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, etc.;
  • The position of companies in international economic law, with special reference to the multinational companies.