• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Jolyon Ford
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2019
    See Future Offerings

This course explores how transnational commercial disputes may be resolved in an authoritative, binding legal way without resorting to litigation before a court. Court-related litigation is more familiar to both lawyers and non-lawyers alike, yet captures only a fraction of the activity towards resolving disputes that occurs before consensual arbitration. Much as there has been a focus in domestic law on 'alternative dispute resolution', so in our globalised economy there is a whole institutional architecture for resolving private commercial disputes with a transnational dimension. The availability of such trusted arbitration (and adjudication) forums is central to parties' confidence in contractual arrangements, and so to facilitating transnational commerce in general. The importance of international commercial arbitration to international commerce is a key theme throughout the course.

This course will cover topics such as the nature and sources of international arbitration; drafting and enforcing arbitration agreements; arbitral procedures and how domestic (state) courts support the international arbitral process and awards made by arbitrators; the law applicable to the merits in international arbitration; challenging, recognising and enforcing awards; and the role of public policy in international arbitration. It will also reflect on the composition, competency and competition among different major global forums for international commercial arbitration: who are arbitrators, where are they doing this, what trends can be discerned in the non-judicial but binding legal resolution of commercial disputes? The course is intended primarily for intensive delivery, and for offshore delivery in Hong Kong (a global arbitration hub), in cooperation with partners at the City University of Hong Kong.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Evaluate complex problems, concepts and theories in international / transnational commercial arbitration law and devise solutions appropriate to the specific context.
  2. Undertake legal research, legal writing and resolution of complex legal problems with a transnational commercial arbitration dimension across a range of issues and topics.
  3. Research and write on the practice or theory of transnational commercial arbitration law including in-depth legal research on an aspect of this field.
  4. Incorporate social, policy, comparative or interdisciplinary approaches into legal analysis of transnational commercial arbitration law issues.
  5. Communicate legal, policy and theoretical perspectives on transnational commercial arbitration law issues effectively, especially in writing.
  6. Structure, sustain and evaluate legal argument in and about transnational commercial arbitration law.
  7. Develop and apply legal knowledge to complex transnational commercial arbitration legal problems in an analytical and creative manner.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Assessment will likely be in two parts, comprising: (null) [LO null]
  2. (1) a 30% shorter discussion-heavy reflective 'opinion paper' of 1,500 words engaging in a particular topic of the course, from a list of some 10-12 'hot or perennial topics' in this subject as taught; this is not intended as a research-heavy exercise, but is a preliminary task towards refining the student's proposed approach to the longer research essay. Not being a research paper, the task envisages reflective engagement and opinion of the sort seen in a blog piece, and seeks to draw out students' own informed reflections on the topic especially in its broader commercial, social and public policy context, before refining these thoughts into a fully researched analytical essay in the second assessment piece. This relates to all Learning Outcomes, esp. 1, 4, 5 and 7; and (30) [LO null]
  3. (2) a research assignment (max. 5,000 words, 70%), normally developing the topic explored in the first assessment but with a full research and analysis. This essay relates to all Learning Outcomes, esp. 1, 2, 3, and 6. (70) [LO null]
  4. (3) The course would also include an online quiz or quizzes during the intensive delivery period, with automatic feedback generated for incorrect answers. This will allow students to check and consolidate their understanding before the delivery period is completed, and so to seek lecturer clarification. (null) [LO null]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Approx. 26 hours of teaching (either in the form of 4-6 weeks online engagement and instruction followed by 2-day intensive in-person teaching, or as a 4 day intensive face-to-face course). Where offered as a 4-day intensive, the course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion this course (preparation, online engagement and face-to-face teaching, and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws specialising in International Law (7300XSINTL), Master of Laws specialising in Law, Governance and Development (7300SLGD), Master of Laws specialising in Environmental Law (7300SEVNL), Master of Laws specialising in Government and Commercial Law (7300SGCL), Master of Laws specialising in International Security Law (7300SISL), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312XLLMLP), Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883SINTL), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Juris Doctor - online (MJDOL) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law & International Law B. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

There is no single prescribed text for this course. Students will benefit from a comprehensive (but selective) reading guide for the subject overall, and by topic.

Preliminary Reading

The full required and recommended reading list for this course will be posted on the course Wattle page. General indicate reading includes the following, in addition to institution-specific materials from the ICC, UNCITRAL and other arbitration forums or regimes:Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration, 2015, Nigel Blackaby et al.Handbook on international arbitration and ADR, Thomas E. Carbonneau. International commercial arbitration, (7 vol. looseleaf set), Clive Schmitthoff (ed.).The leading arbitrators' guide to international arbitration, Lawrence Newman, Richard Hill (eds.).Russell on Arbitration, 2015, David St John Sutton.Introduction to International Arbitration Practice, 2014, Pierre Karrer.

Assumed Knowledge

The course does not have formally 'assumed knowledge' dimensions.Students who have completed courses in Contract Law, Corporate and/or Commercial Law, and Litigation and Dispute Settlement may find some of the course content more familiar.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6778 02 Sep 2019 20 Sep 2019 20 Sep 2019 20 Nov 2019 In Person View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions