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Rethink your approach to conflict resolution

Watch our on-demand webinar, where programme co-directors Ms Norah Gallagher and Dr Remy Gerbay discuss the course structure, content and career progression opportunities.

International Dispute Resolution LLM (Online)

This course is no longer recruiting. QMUL offer a wide range of alternative postgraduate courses which you may like to consider. A full course listing can be found here.


Key facts
Format: part-time and online (distance learning)
Tuition fees: £13,295 (LLM); £8,850 (PGDip); £4,450 (PGCert). Payment by instalment and funding options available. Learn more about costs and ways to pay on our Fees and Funding page.
Course duration:  two years (LLM); 15 months (PGDip); one year (PGCert)
Annual start dates:  Recruitment for this course has stopped
Next start date:  Recruitment for this course has stopped
Application deadline:  Recruitment for this course has stopped
Time commitment:  approximately 20 hours per week


21st in the UK - QS World University Rankings 2024 11th for law in the UK 18th for law in the UK (up 6 places) – The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide

Our online programmes in International Dispute Resolution - Arbitration aim to inspire a new generation of lawyers to rethink traditional approaches to conflict and its resolution, and to equip them with the tools required to succeed in the field.

Your studies will combine solid theoretical grounding, broad interdisciplinary training, and opportunities for individual research and skills development. Our dynamic programmes are designed to offer you all the excellent learning opportunities you would get on campus, without the restrictions of fixed times and locations.

Your course questions answered

How can I balance my studies with a full-time job? How will the course prepare me for career success? What exactly will I learn? 

Find out if our LLM (Online) is right for you. Watch co-Programme Directors, Norah Gallagher and Dr Remy Gerbay as they discuss the structure of the LLM, explore the modules in detail, and the benefits of learning online and part time: 

Read the transcript for this video

- Hello, everyone, and welcome to this live event for the International Dispute Resolution LLM. Today, we're meeting our academics. Today, we have with us Dr. Remy Gerbay and Ms. Norah Gallagher, which are our co-program directors for the dispute resolution program. - Welcome from a miraculously warm and sunny day here in Ireland. I'm in Wicklow. And, in fact, just before we went live, Remy and myself were trying to figure out how long we've known each other. It's actually 17 years, which is quite a long time. It doesn't feel that long. We met when I was working in-- we were both working in Herbert Smith Freehills as it is now-- Herbert Smith as it was then. So I've been in international dispute resolution for well over 20 years now. I've been teaching at Queen Mary since 2002. And as I'm no longer working in a [INAUDIBLE] law firm, I'm not conflicted. I also sit quite regularly in ongoing arbitrations, often with an energy-specific and mining focus. Welcome. - My name is Dr. Remy Gerbay. I'm one of the c-directors of the LLM program with Norah Gallagher. As Norah was explaining a minute ago, we met about 17 years ago when I started my career in international arbitration at English law firm Herbert Smith. And fast-forward 17 or 18 years later. I have now two jobs. I am an academic at Queen Mary University of London, where I teach international arbitration. And I am also a partner in a law firm in Washington, DC called Hughes, Hubbard, and Reed-- in the arbitration group, where I act as counsel and as arbitrator in international arbitration proceedings-- both commercial arbitrations and investor-state arbitrations. And so Norah and I have been co-teaching and co-directing this program for about five years now, I think, although, as Norah explained, she has been teaching at primary for 20 years. And I've been teaching at Queen Mary for about 10 years. - The School of International Arbitration that's based at the Center for Commercial Law Studies was the first dedicated institute to teach the discipline of international dispute resolution. In particular, obviously, it started in commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration. It was, I suppose, the brainchild, if you will, of Dr. Julian Lew, who, again, both Remy and I worked for in Herbert Smith. And it was supported by Sir Roy Goode. So that was back in 1985. So it is coming up close to 40 years. There are, obviously, other institutions that now teach specifically LLM-focused arbitration courses. And there are many universities globally that now offer certain modules in commercial arbitration, mediation, ADR, and investment dispute resolution. But we were one of the first. We like to think that we're one of the best. We've been doing it quite a long time, and we have a lot of experience. We have a growing number of alumni. And I think that factor does set us apart. So, Remy, I was going to hand over to you to cover over the rest. - Yes, I will simply add that, yes, of course, the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London is the oldest and largest academic institution dedicated to the study and research of international arbitration. [INAUDIBLE] has been often copied but never quite equaled, we like to believe. But one of the things that really distinguishes the teaching of arbitration at our school from other programs is the fact that we take an international and comparative approach to the study of international arbitration. For example, when we study international commercial arbitration, we do not focus exclusively on English law. And even though the School of International Arbitration is based at an English university, of course, we cover English law-- the English Arbitration Act of 1996 and the case law. But we also study every single week court decisions and statutes from other jurisdictions-- from Asia, Africa, and North America. And, in fact, our student body very much reflects this diversity. So when we study commercial arbitration, we study the rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Center, of the ICDR in the US, and of a number of other institutions. We look at court decisions from all over the world. And I think that really is a distinguishing feature. I don't think any of the other international arbitration programs take this comparative approach to international arbitration law. - In order to be able to achieve an LLM, you have to have 180 credits. So you have to take a certain number of modules. And then you need to write a dissertation, which is also a credit-- I think, with 60 credits on that module. And they're divided between Remy and myself. Remy does the international commercial arbitration. There are two modules there dealing with specific aspects and, as Remy says, looks at more jurisdictions than just the UK. So it has a comparative and international aspect, which, actually, a lot of students who have some work experience maybe in dispute resolution just in their home jurisdictions find incredibly useful because it broadens out their experience. And then there are modules on investment treaty arbitration. And, of course, that is, I suppose, entirely internationally focused because it has a huge amount of public international law that's relevant-- all of the investment treaties. We look at the ICSID Convention. So it's divided up into various number of modules. And depending on what choice students make, there are three different levels that can be chosen. You can do a certificate, which requires a certain number of modules, and then the diploma and then the LLM. And you don't necessarily have to at the very beginning, if you're not sure of your workload or your personal commitments, commit to doing the LLM. You can actually do it on a progressive basis. So get the certificate first. And maybe then take a bit of time if you want to decide to go back and do the diploma and/or the LLM. So it is, I suppose, progressive. Obviously, most of our students are working full-time. So they do have that concern about being able to balance the workload and the modules over time. And so that ability to be able to choose the level of commitment that you're giving at any point in time on those three different levels-- certificate, diploma, and then LLM-- has been found to be quite useful for students in the past. - So we have two commercial arbitration modules which you take sequentially. And in the first commercial arbitration module, over a period of a few months, we give you a full introduction to international arbitration. And we cover such issues, for example, as the consent to arbitrate, arbitration agreements, the procedure, constitutional arbitration tribunals, et cetera, et cetera-- all the way to the enforcement of arbitration rules. In the second commercial arbitration module, we dig a little bit deeper in some of the more complicated issues in international arbitration. So we look at issues of evidence, for example, and privilege. We look at the issues of enforcement and things like that. And so we build upon what we've learned in the first module. Now, the way we've designed this course on commercial arbitration is that we are very much catering both for students who already have extensive knowledge of international arbitration and students who are new to it. And so the way we have designed our lecture notes, our readings, and the progression over each of the two commercial arbitration modules is such that somebody who is brand new to arbitration will be able to gradually acquire the required knowledge on the topic. But individuals who have been practicing in law firms for many years-- and we have a lot of students like that-- are also getting a lot out of these first and second modules because we are building into our courses advanced the readings. And, typically, we find that both experienced and novice students are really getting a lot out of these commercial arbitration modules. - Thank you, Remy. Actually, before I even get into any of the content of the two investment modules, I'll answer a question that I often get asked by students at the very beginning. Do I need to have a background in public international law? And I say, no. In fact, based on some of the student feedback, what we tend to do before the first investment treaty module is we have a session dedicated to the main public international law principles that you would need to be aware of. So for students who've never done any public international law, we have, as Remy says, quite a lot of students who have a lot of experience in, maybe, a particular area-- maybe in construction, maybe in litigation in their home jurisdiction but not necessarily in international law. So we would look at the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties in that session. So how are tribunals interpreting the treaty provisions that are negotiated by states? We look at the international law in relation to state responsibility. When and how can a state be held accountable for its actions or inactions? So we really have worked to try and make sure that there's a certain level of awareness of those principles. So you don't need to have studied public international law in the past. The two investment modules cover, obviously, a quite exciting, I suppose, a growing area. Since I started when there was only one or two investment treaty arbitrations filed at ICSID, which is the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, DC, where Remy is today-- two every year. Now, you know, it could be 40, 50, 60 a year. And that's just at ICSID. So we look very closely at, I suppose, the background and evolution of the investment treaty arbitration process, which, to put it simply, is what they call a mixed arbitration where you have either an individual or a company that is upset at the treatment it has received by a host state. So somebody went in and made an investment in Ireland, where I am today. And the government expropriated or adversely interferes with it in some way by changing the regime, and they feel that has impacted their investment. So we look at how do you get to go to ICSID, the requirements for consent, the jurisdictional limitations, and actually quite a lot of the procedural and mechanical aspects, including a topic that has come up recently for much discussion. And many of you may have already read a lot about this in the paper-- about issue conflict, repeat appointments, having a very small pool of arbitrators who act on very many of these cases. And also, we look at what makes ICSID arbitration unique because it obviously was set up by a treaty. And it has an annulment process which is completely different to the New York Convention, which you will have learned about from Remy on enforcement of commercial awards. And then the second module that I said we're just finishing now really goes into a lot of detail on the specifics of those substantive protections provided in these treaties. And we're always updating the material. So we're actually looking now at treaties that are being signed today-- that have completely different focus and a lot of additional requirements and obligations, both on states-- and even trying to impose ESG obligations on investors. So we're predicting that this may actually change the type of investment dispute that we'll see in the future. But we run through all of those standard protections-- so expropriation, which is one of the older and more established protections provided to investors, minimum standard of treatment, most-favoured-nation, national treatment-- freedom of transfer because, obviously, you don't want your money to get trapped. We also look at state defenses. And, again, this is an area that we've seen significant change. Even within the last three years, there's been much more willingness of states to take a counterclaim against an investor maybe for, say, breach of their own national environmental laws. And so of those have been upheld by tribunals. There are some very interesting changes and developments that are being made, both by states in the type of treaties that they're running into and also, I suppose, the willingness of tribunals to grapple with issues such as human rights, which definitely, I can tell you when I started my first case back in 1998, would not have been anticipated-- so quite an interesting area-- a lot of detail. As Remy says, we do try and streamline the reading. But for such a topic, it's quite difficult. And, obviously, the awards can also themselves be quite long. But it's a very interesting and dynamic area of public international law. And, also, probably many of you will have seen in newspapers. A lot of the disputes can be quite high-profile because they are often in the public domain, much in the same way that everybody's heard about the Yukos case against Russia. So they are the two investment treaty modules. - There are a number of benefits. The first one is that, as I said, we've designed a program specifically with working professionals in mind. This is not a traditional face-to-face LLM like the one that we have in London-- that will just put on Zoom because of the pandemic. This is a program that has been designed specifically and built specifically in order to be delivered online and in order to accommodate working professionals. And that, I think, is something that becomes very clear when you start studying the LLM. You see the platform. We use Canvas and all of the tools that we use on a weekly basis to teach the LLM. - Yeah I just would stress there that those webinars are incredibly useful. So that's a time when I always try to encourage students to come to them. Obviously, depending on the time zone, it's not always possible this year, much like the investment treaty module that we're just finishing with some students in North America-- some students in Singapore. So it's quite difficult. So some people have to watch back the recording. And then, obviously, if they have any questions that arise that they didn't understand or they need clarified, they can then put that in the forum. So our teaching team is super. They're very experienced. They've worked in both commercial and investment treaty arbitration. And they're very active in that kind of online discussion platform. But we do try and address any of the confusions each week on that live webinar where you have a chance to put your question, turn your camera on, turn your microphone on, and actually speak with us. And I think that that's a really important option, especially when the material can be a bit confusing. Or maybe you know about commercial arbitration, but you don't know about investment treaty arbitration. And you need some things clarified on how the umbrella clause is working or what tribunals are doing in relation to the minimum standard and fair and equal treatment. So it's a really useful function. A student [INAUDIBLE] helps to clarify certain points. And just to confirm [INAUDIBLE] right, so the module is kind of iterative. We start at the very beginning of the process. So what is investment treaty arbitration? How do you get to go to ICSID? We spend a whole week on consent because it's so important-- then the jurisdiction requirements. So each week follows on from and adds to what it is you've learned the week before. So that's quite an important point as well. - Maybe two points to add-- the first one is that Nora and I are the co-directors of the program. We're teaching. But we have with us a team of lecturers who are teaching with us. And, really, this team is quite incredible. And that really makes the difference between our program, I think, and even what happens in London. Whether you come to Queen Mary, to the LSE, to UCL, or any other English universities, typically, if you study an LLM program, you're going to have your lectures with the professor. And then you're going to have tutorials with, typically, PhD candidates who are teaching assistants. And their job is to support the professor. What's different with our online program is because a lot of our students are very senior, we've recruited lecturers who have extensive experience of arbitration. So our associate lectures who are teaching with us and animating, if you want, these weekly webinars with us are not your average teaching assistants. We're talking individuals who have practiced arbitration in big law firms-- who are in the process of finishing a PhD because they're moving away from big law into academia, for example-- so individuals who have actually been in arbitrations-- who truly understand what it is that they're talking about. And so the quality of our associate lecturers is really quite incredible and, frankly, unique. I've never seen that anywhere else. It's been a lot of work for Nora and I to recruit these people, but we're very happy with that. And the second thing is that when you do this LLM, you very much learn from the students as well. When you do these tutorials at the end of the week, you learn a lot from the class participation-- the interventions of your fellow students. As I said, some of our students are new to arbitration. But some others have been practicing for a long time. We have, every year, individuals who have practiced arbitration for many years but who want to become full-time arbitrators and stop working as counsel-- as partners in law firms. We have very senior partners in big law firms in Singapore and elsewhere. And so you can imagine the quality of the discussions. So in this intake-- the most recent intake-- we're doing commercial arbitration. One of the people that's studying with us is in charge of defending arbitrations for governments of a big country. So you can imagine the quality of the interventions. And we learn from each other about how arbitration works in different countries. And it really is a unique learning environment and a great networking environment as well. By participating in the weekly webinars, even though you're not flying to London and you're connecting from wherever you're located, you're able to network with individuals who, like yourself, are studying on this LLM program. Well, I think the answer very much depends on a number of factors, including where you are already in your career and what you want to do with it. What I can say is that every year, we have students who are both junior and senior lawyers who decide to do this LLM. And they do it for different reasons because they want to get different things out of it in their careers. Often, junior lawyers have recently finished their undergraduate law degree and decide to do an LLM in arbitration like ours because they want to gain a specialist knowledge in the field and to start building credibility as young, budding arbitration lawyers. And the idea is that it will help them become more employable-- get a better job in whatever jurisdiction they're placed. And also, for the lawyers that are already working as young associates in law firms, there is the perception that doing a specialist degree in arbitration will help them build credibility within their firms so that they can have first dibs when it comes to being allocated to international arbitration matters and become the specialist in their firms. - So it's generally allocated as 20 notional hours. And what that will mean is that there are some weeks where you will actually probably have to spend a bit more on the material because it will be maybe something new-- something more difficult. As Remy mentioned at the very beginning, we do get a huge amount of students who have some dispute resolution either experience or exposure-- maybe as engineer in construction disputes. So there might be some parts of the module where you wouldn't have to spend any more than five or six hours in a week. So we use 20 on average throughout the course. And, basically, I suppose there is an element of organization here. So you would have to be able to try and dedicate your time throughout the week. I'm not saying that you have to sit down and do a whole block of four or five hours but just to be able to log on and off at various points of time. Make sure that you're covering the material because the course will be much more enjoyable and, in fact, a lot easier if you are able to follow. Even in something you're familiar with, it's good to be able to revise. I mean, we have a practitioners week where we try and get really high-profile speakers. In fact, a year or two ago, I had Professor Schreuer. And he's a professor from Vienna who has written the entire book on the ICSID Convention-- literally article by article. And so the students were delighted to have him come. But you always learn something from that. So, if it's going to help, revise each week-- even the stuff that you know. And then spend a bit more time on the material that may be new to you. So, for sure, some people may have some exposure. We had a couple of students who had worked for the Egyptian government on their disputes. So they knew quite a bit about part of the investment treaty process but not others. So they were able to spend a bit less time on some of the weeks and more time on others. And then, as I say, it's just a matter of fitting it in. We're conscious that you're all working-- have family commitments and, obviously, life. So there will be times when you'll end up having to do some of your study over the weekend. I know it's not very popular to hear. But it is a distance learning program, and you will continue to be working. So there will, by necessity, be times where it will eat into your personal life. But I think that, inevitably, students who sign up for a distance learning program and who are going to continue to work know that there are going to find a way to make that balance between work and study. Remy, I wasn't sure if you wanted to add anything on to the time allocation there. Yeah, I agree. I mean, we aim to make the modules as fun, entertaining, and interactive as we possibly can online. But in the end, it's up to each student individually to assess their own time commitments at any point in time. Now, obviously, I just wanted to add something on, Remy. We have had students who had looked at their calendar, thought that it would all fit in, and then maybe something happened right in the middle. And so they had to interrupt, which you can do. And they came back and completed it later. So, obviously, if something very unusual happened or we had some students who fell ill, there are ways to be able to manage that. But in the end, despite all our best efforts at making it as engaging as possible, we try to future look, as I mentioned, to climate change disputes that we're beginning to look at because we think that is the direction-- in particular, in investment treaty arbitration-- that it will be going. But in the end, you have to decide for yourself about timing and balancing those commitments.

Why study International Dispute Resolution?

Queen Mary University of London is ranked 10th in the UK for law in the Guardian University Guide 2023.

Learn more about the benefits of the course as well as career impacts and networking opportunities by watching our Q&A interviews with LLM students: 

Juan Cilliers, Legal Counsel

Watch our on-demand virtual Q&A with Legal Counsel Juan Cilliers to find out how he feels the programme will impact his career:

You can also read our Q&A interview with Juan, where he goes into more detail about networking opportunities, career advancement and how he manages his time.


Vishakha Gupta, Senior Associate

Watch our on-demand virtual Q&A with Delhi-based Senior Associate Vishakha Gupta, where she explains her motivations for studying the LLM (Online):

The online programmes in International Dispute Resolution can be studied part-time as a Master of Law (LLM), Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip), or Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert). The PGDip and the PGCert are shorter versions of the LLM programme.

School of International Arbitration

These three programmes are offered by the School of International Arbitration (SIA) within Queen Mary University of London’s Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS).

The SIA is a global leader in teaching and research in International Dispute Resolution. As a research-led centre, the SIA studies the specific problems that arise in arbitration and contributes to the development of arbitration theory. Taking a practice-orientated approach to teaching arbitration, the SIA helps lawyers grasp the complex theoretical problems and parameters of the subject.

CCLS is a centre of national and international excellence in legal study and research. CCLS specialises in the knowledge and skills in commercial law that can be placed at the service of government, public bodies, overseas institutions, the legal profession, industry and commerce.

For more information about CCLS please visit

Have a question about studying?

Our course adviser team is here to help:

Contact us

As the partner in a law firm, who can’t move to another country for one or two years, it was very important that the programme was online.
Catalina Hoyos Jimenez, LLM student, Queen Mary Online


The LLM in International Dispute Resolution is available for part-time study offered over two academic years. During that time, you will undertake four taught modules and a 15,000 word dissertation.

For each module you will be awarded 30 credits and you will receive a further 60 credits for your dissertation. To graduate you must have accrued the full 180 credits, which involves completing every aspect of the modules and passing all relevant assignments.

Postgraduate Diploma

The PGDip in International Dispute Resolution is available for part time study offered over two academic years. During that time you will undertake four taught modules. For each module, you will be awarded 30 credits. To graduate you must have accrued 120 credits, which involves completing every aspect of the modules and passing all relevant assignments. After completing your PGDip, you have the opportunity to progress onto the LLM programme. Please get in touch with a course adviser to discuss the details.

Postgraduate Certificate

The PGCert in International Dispute Resolution is available for part time study over one year. During that time, you will undertake two taught modules. You will take the first two modules from the lists below, depending on whether you start in May or September. For each module, you will be awarded 30 credits. To graduate you must have accrued 60 credits, which involves completing every aspect of the modules and passing all relevant assignments. After completing your PGCert, you have the opportunity to progress onto the PGDip or LLM programme. Please get in touch with a course adviser to discuss the details

Module details

The two modules on commercial arbitration offer students a detailed view of all key legal issues arising in the course of arbitration proceedings. The modules on investment arbitration will give students an in-depth understanding of the work of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSD) and the issue of Substantive Protection.

Combined, these will equip students with the knowledge and skills required to excel in this field, whether as in-house lawyers, outside counsel, academics or arbitrators

International Commercial Arbitration: Theory and Context

Compulsory module for the LLM, PGDip and PGCert.

Aim: to introduce the fundamental principles of international commercial arbitration.

Topics include:

  • What is Arbitration? Forms of Arbitration; different dispute resolution mechanisms; main arbitral institutions
  • Legal framework of arbitration; theories of arbitration
  • The Arbitration Agreement  I – formal and substantive validity; separability; kompetenz-kompetenz
  • The Arbitration Agreement II – essential characteristics of arbitration clauses; pathological clauses; drafting and effective arbitration clause
  • Arbitrability
  • Appointment of arbitrators – selection mechanisms, neutrality and independence; conflicts of interest; repeat appointments; ethics
  • Arbitral Procedure I – party autonomy vs harmonization; different phases of arbitration; bifurcation; terms of reference; hearing
  • Arbitral Procedure II – evidence; discovery; tensions between civil and common law; IBA guidelines
  • Arbitration and the courts in general – provisional measures and enforcement.

International Commercial Arbitration: Selected Issues

Compulsory module for the LLM, PGDip and PGCert.

Aim: to establish knowledge and critical understanding of international commercial arbitration as an independent comparative law subject.

Topics include:

  • Decision making in arbitration: role of Arbitral Institutions, arbitrators, domestic courts and administrative secretaries
  • Legitimacy of the arbitration process:  due process, rule of law and other hallmarks of legitimacy 
  • Applicable Law Issues I – determination of applicable substantive law 
  • Applicable Law Issues II – law governing the procedure 
  • Challenges to arbitrators, including standards of independence and impartiality
  • Multi-party arbitration; multi-contract arbitration
  • Provisional measures; emergency arbitrators
  • Recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards
  • Funding of arbitration and costs, including third party funding.

Investment Treaty Arbitration

Compulsory module for the LLM and PGDip

Aim: to develop awareness of the complex international legal elements involved in the resolution of investment and trade disputes. 

Topics include:

  • Introduction to the subject matter and the course – Regulatory and Institutional Framework 
  • ISDS – overview and history
  • ICSID – jurisdiction: consent; ratione materiae; personae 
  • ICSID – procedural Issues  
  • ICSID – award and annulment 
  • ICSID – enforcement and sovereign immunity 
  • BIT I – models and key content 
  • BIT II – key procedural issues  

Investment Arbitration: Substantive Protection

Compulsory module for the LLM and PGDip

Aim: to develop awareness of the complex international legal elements involved in the resolution of investment and trade disputes. 

Topics include:

  • An evolution – from BITS to FTAs to mega-regionals
  • NAFTA 
  • ECT – a sectoral FTA/BIT
  • CETA, TPP, TTIP and other endeavours 
  • Substantive Protection I: expropriation
  • Substantive Protection II: fair and equitable treatment
  • Substantive Protection III: other rights and state defences to investor rights
  • MFN and umbrella clauses


Compulsory module for the LLM

Dissertation (15,000 words) – independent research. An advanced, in depth examination of a particular area of law: the chosen topic should relate to a relevant issue within the academic field.

Module order

Depending on whether you start your course in May or September, you'll take modules in the following order:

May start 

  • International Commercial Arbitration: Theory and Context
  • International Commercial Arbitration: Selected Issues
  • Investment Treaty Arbitration
  • Investment Arbitration: Substantive Protection
  • Dissertation

September start

  • International Commercial Arbitration: Theory and Context
  • Investment Treaty Arbitration
  • Investment Arbitration: Substantive Protection
  • International Commercial Arbitration: Selected Issues
  • Dissertation

Need more information?

Entry requirements

To be eligible for entry to the LLM, PGDip, or PGCert International Dispute Resolution programme you should have the following:

Law graduates

  • The usual qualification for entry to the programme is a degree in law, or a degree with a substantial law content, of at least 2.1 honours (or international equivalent).
  • Law graduates with 2.2 honours who also have other legal qualifications and/or substantial professional legal experience may also qualify.

Non-law graduates

  • Non-law graduates with a minimum 2.2 honours degree who have also obtained a Merit (or 60 per cent) in the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) recognised by the UK professional bodies, may also qualify.
  • Non-law graduates may also be considered on the basis of substantial professional experience in a legal area or an area directly related to their programme of study.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, you should also have one of the following:

  • IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall including 7.0 in Writing, and 5.5 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.
  • TOEFL: 100 overall including 27 in Writing, 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking.
  • PTE Academic: 68 overall including 68 in Writing, and 51 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.

Please visit the Alternative English Language Qualifications page on the main Queen Mary website for more information on language requirements.

Get advice from an IELTS examiner on taking your IELTS English Language test:

Read the transcript for this video

Taking your IELTS English Language test?

Here are top tips from an IELTS examiner on how to prepare for each section and perform at your best on exam day.

4 skills are tested in the IELTS exam:

  1. Reading
  2. Listening
  3. Speaking
  4. Writing

Advice for reading

  • Read newspapers and academic journals regularly to help improve your vocabulary and reading speed
  • Download IELTS practice tests from the website to learn how to identify the easiest questions
  • During your exam, read through the paper in full initially and identify which questions are easier for you
  • Start with the easier questions to guarantee yourself some marks and help you feel confident

Advice for listening

  • Listen to the radio, TV and YouTube videos to help you understand various accents
  • Practice your spelling of names, numbers and addresses

Advice for speaking

  • Speak in English as much as possible in your day-to-day life
  • On the day of the exam, see if you can speak in English to another candidate outside the exam hall, to put yourself at ease

Advice for writing

  • Practice writing academic papers and get feedback from a teacher or professor if you can
  • Get to know the band descriptors IELTS examiners use to mark your writing – you can find these on the website
  • Identify the areas you need to improve on and practice these before your exam
  • During your exam, make sure you answer the question that’s being asked and complete all parts of the task

And finally...

Leave yourself plenty of time to prepare! If you can, try to book your exam at least six weeks in advance to give yourself enough time to practice the different skills. Practice makes perfect with the IELTS exam.

Have questions?

If you're unsure about any areas of the IELTS process and would like further advice, please reach out to our course adviser team.

  • Tel: +44(0)20 3859 7192
  • WhatsApp: +44 (0)7360 818402

Taking your English language requirement test at home

The following at-home tests are also being accepted for September 2023 entry:

  • HOME TOEFL: 100 overall including 27 in Writing, 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking.
  • IELTS Indicator Test or IELTS Online Test: 7.0 overall including 7.0 in Writing, and 5.5 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.
  • PTE Academic Online: 68 overall including 68 in Writing, and 51 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.

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In all cases, a full online application is required in order for a fair assessment and decision to be made. Each application is considered on its merits and on sight of comprehensive application documents.

A full and detailed CV is required for all applications and is particularly relevant where professional experience needs to be considered. If you would like to apply but are unsure whether you are qualified, please contact our course advisers.

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How you are assessed

As a student at Queen Mary Online, we ask you to play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. We use a mixture of discussion forums and group webinars, designed to generate informed discussion around set topics.

Each module will consist of assessed tasks, a module essay and final assessment exercise (take-home exam). Continuous assessment will enhance the student-tutor relationship and you will be provided with regular feedback by expert tutors. You will also be able to address questions and concerns directly to the course convenor and the course director.

The final dissertation required for the LLM will involve more in-depth study and independent research, on a topic agreed with your supervisor.

Independent study

At Queen Mary Online we take your studies seriously and in return we hope that you will do the same. Each week you will need to invest additional time on individual study. This could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and undertaking research for your dissertation.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the online weekly content, along with your reading lists and assignments. We expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study helps foster the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help you throughout your working life.

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Resources and services

"You have a lot of resources, such as Student Advisers, to help you. And remember, you’re not going to be the first person to ask these questions, and you aren’t going to be the last. So, don’t be afraid about reaching out for advice or guidance."Nicolas Paez, LLM student

Our online students enjoy the same status as those who attend Queen Mary on campus. You will have access to our extensive online resources and if you are able, are welcome to attend any of the extra-curricular events run by various research centres to complement your studies.

We provide free access to extensive online databases and collections, including:

  • Kluwer Arbitration
  • Lexis
  • Westlaw
  • HeinOnline
  • Oxford Scholarship online
  • Jstor

Queen Mary has law careers advisers who organise events and internship opportunities with top UK and international law firms. Senior practitioners and academics from leading law firms, chambers and other universities also contribute on our programmes, providing excellent online networking opportunities for our students.

In addition, you will benefit from dedicated tutor support, enhanced online material, and a range of interactive features. There will be lively online discussions with your peers and webinars led by academic members, all accessible at a time that suits you.

You’ll also be able to turn to our helpful Student Adviser team once you enrol. They will help you with any non-academic questions and to ensure your experience with Queen Mary is positive.

The online tutors are really active, responsive, knowledgeable, highly encouraging and helpful at all times. I have had the most stupid doubts and they have cleared them up without any hindrance whatsoever. It's only made me have a better understanding of International Commerical Arbitration.
LLM student, Queen Mary Online

Academic team

As a member of the Russell Group, Queen Mary is committed to the highest quality teaching and research.

The DL programmes in International Dispute Resolution are taught by academics under the direction of Norah Gallagher and Remy Gerbay, the co-Directors of the Distance Learning programmes.

Co-Programme Directors

Dr Remy Gerbay

Dr Gerbay is an international arbitration lawyer and academic. He is an Attorney (admitted New York) and a Solicitor (England and Wales). He is a former Deputy Registrar of the LCIA and a leading author on that institution. Remy frequently sits as arbitrator (co-arbitrator, sole and chair) and has been appointed in ad hoc, ICC, LCIA, Swiss Chambers, DIAC and KIAC arbitrations. Remy was named as number 1 in the non-partner, Americas region category of the Who's Who Legal Future Leaders in Arbitration 2019.

Ms Norah Gallagher

Ms Gallagher is a specialist in the areas of international arbitration and public international law. She has acted in arbitrations under ICC, ICSID, LCIA as well as ad hoc arbitrations. She regularly advises on issues concerning arbitration agreements including defective or pathological clauses, bifurcated clauses and multiparty arrangements as well as all procedural aspects of international arbitration and enforcement of awards.

Associate Lecturers

Mr Álvaro Nistal

Álvaro is a civil and common law qualified lawyer and currently works as Counsel for the law firm Arnold & Porter. During the last fifteen years, he has specialised in international dispute resolution and public international law at law firms in Madrid, Paris and London, with a particular focus on investor-State and State-to-State disputes.

He has represented foreign investors and States before numerous international dispute resolution fora, including ICSID, the ICC, the SCC and the International Court of Justice. Álvaro also regularly speaks at conferences and publishes articles on international arbitration and public international law, which he has taught to public officials and the legal departments of multiple States and corporate entities as well as at universities in the UK and abroad.

Mr Mohamed Mahayni

A dual qualified Solicitor (England & Wales) and Avocat (Paris Bar), Mr Mahayni spent six years with White & Case LLP in London, Paris and Hong Kong. During this time he acted in international arbitrations under various institutional and ad hoc rules, both as counsel and as secretary to tribunals. He also worked as counsel at the LCIA and DIFC-LCIA. Mohamed now splits his time between private practice and doctoral research at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Dr Javier García Olmedo

A Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Luxembourg, Dr García Olmedo holds a master's degree in Law from the University of Granada (Spain) and an LLM in Private International Law and Arbitration from King’s College London. He is also a dual-qualified Abogado (Spain) and Solicitor (England & Wales). Before joining the University of Luxembourg, he was a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg and worked as an associate at Foley Hoag and Hogan Lovells, where he represented sovereign States and commercial entities in numerous arbitrations governed by the ICSID, PCA, UNCITRAL, and ICC rules. He also practiced arbitration with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Paris and worked as a research assistant for Professor Martin Hunter at Essex Court Chambers in London.

Mr Denis Parchajev

Denis is a Senior Associate at Motieka & Audzevicius PLP in Vilnius, Lithuania. Denis has been involved in arbitration cases under the Rules of ICC, SCC, LCIA, IAC at the BelCCI and Lithuanian Arbitration Court. Denis also specialises in sports matters, including matters before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the International Olympic Committee. His primary focus is arbitration, both commercial and investment, as well as litigation of complex cases with an international element. Denis has worked on a number of major enforcement matters before Lithuanian courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union. In addition, Denis is actively involved in cases in Russia and other CEE markets. Denis holds an LLM from QMUL and is a PhD candidate at QMUL.

Ms Agnieszka Ason

Agnieszka holds Polish and German law degrees and specialises in energy investment law and international arbitration. Having worked on complex investment and commercial disputes, mainly in the natural gas sector, she is now a Lecturer at the Technische Universität Berlin,  Guest Teacher at the London School of Economics, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Her current research focuses on sovereign risk and gas price review arbitrations.

Viraj Bhide

Viraj Bhide is an attorney at the Paris Bar. His areas of practice include litigation, international arbitration and consulting on questions of private and public international law. He has an LLM. in French and European law from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, and a master's degree in Litigation, Arbitration and ADR from the University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas. 

Other academic members of the School of International Arbitration, who have some limited involvement in the Online Learning programmes include the following:

Teaching and Research

Established in 1985, the School of International Arbitration (SIA) is the oldest academic institution dedicated to the study of international arbitration and dispute resolution, and one of the largest specialist PhD programmes in the world.

The SIA is a centre of excellence in research and teaching of international arbitration and is part of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) at Queen Mary University of London – which consists of 32 full-time academic staff and more than 50 practitioners, judges and visiting academics contributing to the teaching, research and life of the centre.

Involving leading practitioners and business in the delivery of our courses continues to ensure that the teaching and training we deliver is relevant and practical whilst retaining the highest academic rigour.

CCLS’s advisory council (chaired by The Right Honourable Lord Justice Kitchin) and its Development Board are comprised of judges, solicitors, barristers, general counsel, business leaders and academics.

CCLS has approximately 100 doctoral and 1000+ LLM and MSc students from some 80 countries and has trained over 10,000 lawyers since its establishment. Our students benefit from learning from leading academics who in turn involve experienced practitioners in their teaching teams. Graduates from our programmes go on to form part of the vibrant Alumni and Friends of the School of International Arbitration.


The School of International Arbitration is widely considered as one of the world’s pre-eminent academic institutions for the study of international arbitration.

The School of Law at Queen Mary is consistently ranked in the top 10 law schools in the UK for the quality of our research and teaching and our students enjoy a very high employment rate within six months of graduating. It is also often ranked as the top law school in London.

Queen Mary is in the top 120 universities in the world and the top 50 in Europe. We're also a member of the UK's 24 leading universities, the Russell Group.

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The networking you get in a university like this is impressive.
Catalina Hoyos Jimenez, LLM student, Queen Mary Online

How could Queen Mary's course benefit my career?

Queen Mary University of London is a member of the Russell Group of leading universities. Studying online with us gives you access to the highest quality of teaching and research, empowering you to achieve lifelong career success and make a global impact.

Queen Mary’s School of International Arbitration (SIA) is the world’s oldest and largest academic institution dedicated to the study of international arbitration. The SIA is widely recognised as a global leader in the field. 

We have students who have recently graduated from law school and are looking to start their career, preferably in arbitration or international resolution. We also have mid-level or senior lawyers who want to understand international arbitration better, because they need it in their work or want to transition from general litigation, for example, into international arbitration.
Dr Remy Gerbay, LLM Programme Co-Director

What career-relevant skills will I develop?

During the course, you will get a broad perspective on arbitration. At Queen Mary, we teach international arbitration taking a comparative law approach. Our courses are not limited to English arbitration law. Instead, we study statutes and cases from numerous jurisdictions, covering continental Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.

Throughout the course, you will work on questions based on real cases, conduct legal research, write legal analyses, and get feedback from our academic team.

Through our LLM, students with no background in arbitration will gain a comprehensive knowledge of both commercial and investor-State arbitration, garnering both precious practical and theoretical insights into these fields of practice.

For experienced arbitration lawyers, studying our LLM is an opportunity to take some distance from your everyday work and gain a top-down, theoretical understanding of the subject matter.

A specialised LLM will also bolster both experienced and inexperienced lawyers’ credibility as arbitration practitioners, thereby helping you achieve your professional goals. 

Hear from current student Juan Cilliers about how the course has opened up opportunities within his career in arbitration:

Read the transcript for this video

Juan [00:00:01]Just bearing in mind that this is not only a arbitration masters degree but international dispute resolution programme, I was also asked to sit as a mediator in some commercial disputes, which I was really flattered by. And that's all because the word spread that i'm enrolled at Queen Mary. And obviously, I've got a bit of a advantage over some of the colleagues who might just have exposure to domestic arbitration. So going forward, I think it will open some doors. And yeah, I'm looking forward to what the future holds.

What additional career support is available?

You’ll also have access to QM Careers and Enterprise throughout your studies and for up to two years after you graduate. The service offers information and guidance on a wide range of topics, from choosing a career to finding work experience and starting your own business.

Find out more about career guidance for Queen Mary Online students on our Career Support page

What are the networking opportunities?

You can look forward to engaging and building connections with your tutors and fellow students during webinars and in discussion forums. Through your time on the course, you will build a network that could allow you to work together in the future.

You will also have access to various extracurricular events organised by the SIA, including a range of online seminars relevant to the course on topics such as transparency and insolvency.  

Where have graduates progressed to?

From the success stories of our LLM graduates, we know the variety of careers that are likely to be open to you on successful completion of this course. A large portion of our graduates have applied their degree knowledge directly while working in private practice, in law firms big and small. Others have gone on to work as in-house counsel for private companies, government, or arbitral institutions.

Finally, some of our students have gone on to pursue doctoral degrees and joined academia. Students who had already been practicing for several years prior to the LLM have found themselves able to advance their position within their existing organisation, or to transition into a new area of law.

The skills developed through our programme – combined with the extra-curricular activities we offer – have enabled Queen Mary graduates to move in to careers in the UK and around the world at companies such as:

  • Albright Stonebridge Group
  • Ashurst LLP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  • Deloitte
  • Dentons
  • Dittmar & Indrenius
  • Intel Corporation
  • McDermott International
  • Pinsent Masons
  • The World Bank

Source: LinkedIn 

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