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International Commercial Arbitration


Disclaimer: Should there be any future extenuating circumstances which may impinge our teaching and assessment, these could necessitate modification of the course descriptions after 1 September. This will only happen in the event of strict necessity and the interests of the students will be taken into account. Should there be a need for any change during the course, this will be informed to all students on a timely basis. Modifications after 1 September 2023 may only be done with the approval and consent of the Faculty Board and Programme Director.


The International Commercial Arbitration course provides a general overview of theory and practice of commercial arbitration at the international level, focusing on recent developments in this field. The course will address the various players in arbitration and cover the various sources regulating international arbitration, from both theoretical and practical perspectives.

This course will begin by introducing the key characteristics of arbitration in comparison to court proceedings and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. This introduction will include a discussion of the pros and cons of arbitration.

The course will then take students through the lifecycle of an arbitration, starting from the arbitration agreement and the requirements as to the validity and enforcement thereof. Also, based on a practical exercise, students will focus on drafting arbitration clauses and the pitfalls associated therewith.

An important feature of arbitration is the appointment of arbitrators and the course will address arbitrator skills and requirements, focusing on arbitrator appointment and challenge procedures.

In addition, the law applicable to the various components of arbitration will be touched upon. The course will then focus on arbitration procedure more generally, including in comparison with court procedures. Arbitral procedure is based on the interplay of international conventions, national laws and institutional rules, all of which are intended to provide safeguards to the procedure and provide a neutral dispute resolution mechanism. Practical examples will be used to teach students to identify patterns and differences between different laws and institutional rules.

Arbitration is supported by and subject to supervision by state courts through various mechanisms, both during and after the actual arbitration proceedings. The course will include a review of court procedures such as remission and setting aside procedures, focusing in particular on the UNCITRAL Model Law. In addition, the course will discuss enforcement mechanisms, focusing on the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958. States as a party and aspects of immunity law will be addressed as part of the discussion of enforcement of arbitral awards.

Finally, the course will introduce students to investment arbitration, by reviewing in brief the system of bilateral investment treaties, the procedural characteristics of investment arbitration, and by providing an overview of the substantive protection provided by existing international instruments, as well as the challenges to the existing system and opportunities for the future.

In addition to the core lectures, assignment, and feedback session, guest lecturers from international arbitration institutions, as well as private practice, will give sessions that complement students’ knowledge of the practical aspects of international dispute resolution.


Programme Coordinator LLM (Adv) International Civil and Commercial Law
Office for International Education / Leiden Law School


Ms. Hosna Sheikhattar
T: +31 71 527 7998


Interactive lectures, tutorials/working groups (combined with online activities if necessary).


Written exam (80%)
Written/oral assignments (20%)

The overall course grade should be at least 5,5 in order to complete the course successfully.
There will be one oral retake (100%) substituting all previous assessments.


Full degree in law granting access to the legal profession (or equivalent). A basic understanding of private international law and public international law is recommended. Attendance of lectures is mandatory. Completion of reading materials prior to the lectures is required. The course outline and reading list/reading materials will be made available on Blackboard/Brightspace.