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Our LL.M. programme – its history and its philosophy


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The Master of Laws in European and Comparative Law was established within the Department of European and Comparative Law in the Faculty of Laws in 1994. The European Business law stream is offered from 2015. It is in essence a taught course, but the pedagogic method is that of the seminar. This takes a discussion format, and discussion is led by a Professor. The seminar work is based on the preparation and making of a presentation (a ‘paper’) by one or more students after carrying out guided reading. The degree includes an important dissertation component. 

The first aim remains that of providing postgraduate specialization - recognized as such throughout Europe and beyond -in European Union Law and related comparative law. The programme of studies ranges over a large list of subject areas. The student chooses a prescribed number of study-units. In principle, the comparative dimension (national laws of key Member States of the Union) is worked into most subjects, while also being the principal methodology employed in a number of study-units. The level of the degree compares with the level of leading LL.M. programmes in other European universities, this being certified on an annual basis by an external examiner from a European university. The second aim is to prepare our students for a legal career, whether in the European Union Institutions, in other international organizations, as advisors to government and other entities, or in private practice in Malta and abroad. The academic programme and its professional dimension prepare graduates to enter international and national law firms, European, international and national public sectors as well as the non-governmental and business sectors, and may serve as a stepping stone towards doctoral studies.

The Department offers students a choice from a wide ranging list of subjects. The LL.M. programme provides students with the opportunity to design their own course of study in accordance with their career priorities. It enables them to gain expertise on many relevant and topical issues of European law providing students with in-depth training in European law.


The General programme establishes a balance between the economic and constitutional aspects of European law, and emphasises both the complexity of EU law and the context in which it is evolving.

The programme is aimed at students with a degree in law.  For students seeking to broadly develop their skills and knowledge for a career with an international dimension, this programme offers the best possible personal preparation. While enabling students to focus on particular subjects of interest, it also fully accommodates the needs of those students who seek a general European and international law education. With its combination of academic and practical skills modules, the programme prepares students for the international professional life that is increasingly the reality of law professionals all over the world.  The academic programme and its professional dimension prepare graduates to enter international and national law firms, European, international and national public sectors as well as the non-governmental and business sectors, and may serve as a stepping stone towards doctoral studies.

 

Attendance, teaching and assessment 

 

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The LL.M. programme consists of study for a total of 90 ECTS, which is equivalent to roughly 1,800 hours of study. This is the same as 48 weeks of full-time work (based on a 37.5-hour work week). Students on the General programme choose study units totalling 60 ECTS from a long list of available study-units. Some study-units run over two semesters and carry 12 ECTS while other study-units run over one semester (October to January or February to May) and carry 6 ECTS. Full-time students need to obtain the 60 ECTS over one academic year while part-time students need to obtain 30 ECTS each year over two academic years. After obtaining their study unit credits, students work on a dissertation, usually over the summer, from June to September.

The dissertation is a long paper that treats a subject of the student’s own choosing, is written under the supervision of a professor, and accounts for the remaining thirty ECTS credits.  On the LL.M. in European Business Law, students take three compulsory subjects and then choose from a number of business law subjects to make up the total of 60 ECTS credits. Typically, full-time students have six hours of classes per week (for 28 weeks in total in an academic year). Seminars involve class discussions and students are expected to participate actively in those discussions. In some seminars, students may be asked to work in teams.  

Each study-unit is taught over 7 seminars or 14 seminars - each of two hours each - depending on whether the subject is a one semester or a two semester course.  This dictates the value of ECTS that each subject carries.  Students are required to read set materials in advance as the contact hours take the form of seminars which involve discussions and student presentations rather than traditional lectures. Each study-unit is supported by a dedicated website (VLE) containing materials such as reading lists, links to websites and articles, and news on the subject. Student participation in class is essential to complete the degree programme and hence attendance is compulsory.  

Each study-unit is examined by a written essay (3,000 to 5,000 words) which carries 20% of the final mark and a written examination at the end of the study-unit of 2 or 3 hours which carries 80% of the final mark.  The length of the essay and the duration of the examination vary according as the ECTS value of the study unit is of 6 or of 12 credits.  Study-units which are completed in January are examined in February.  Seminars for each study-unit are usually held every fortnight in the afternoon, usually at 15:00 though this can vary due to exigencies. Students are also required to participate in academic activities that are organised from time to time.

The University awards a Pass degree to those who obtain an average of 50% of the marks awardable, while the Degree can be awarded with Merit where the overall average mark is of 70 – 79 %. A Distinction is awarded to students who obtain an average mark of 80 % or above. Students are required to get an overall of 50% in the 90 ECTS to get a pass.  An overall of 70-79% will get you a merit while an overall of 80% or more will get you a distinction. 

 

 
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Last Updated: 9 October 2017

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