LLM in Commodity Trading Law

Globalization and its intertwining of national economies has led to a substantial increase in cross-border commodity trading.

In their training, lawyers generally lack the specialized knowledge and skills required to deal with international commodity trading, and they only acquire it slowly on the job, through years of trials and errors.

Considering this reality, the Fribourg Law School has decided to launch a programme that teaches the specialized know-how that commodity trading companies and law firms seek when hiring new talents.

In this endeavour, Fribourg Law is assisted by key market players and notably of one of the leading global commodity law firms, HFW. With offices in all the major trading hubs (including Geneva), HFW is ideally placed to provide legal advice to the commodity trading community  as the firm has many lawyers with unrivalled experience and expertise who specialise in the many different areas of commodity trade.

This LLM offers a practical knowledge of the specific rules, regulations and standards applied in commodity trading, as well as of the general international trade regulatory framework in which this trading takes place, such as the law of the international sale of goods, shipping, insurance, environmental protection, financing, arbitration and WTO.

The teaching is case-based, with more than 50 case studies experienced commodity practitioners encounter in this field. In addition, the programme enhances the development of skills through legal clinics, communication and negotiation techniques as well as drafting exercises.

It is only natural that Fribourg, located at the heart of Switzerland, should offer an LLM in this field. According to 2016 statistics, Switzerland is the foremost worldwide trading hub for crude oil (35% of the world trading compared to 25% to London and 20% to New York and Houston), metals (with 60% of the global trade compared to 20% in Singapore and Shanghai), grain (with 35% of global trade, before Singapore with 20%), sugar (with 50% of the world trade as compared to 20% in London and 15% in Paris), and coffee (with 60% of the world trade as compared to 20% in Hamburg and 5% in Singapore).


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  • Who is eligible ?

    The LLM program in Commodities Trading is designed to meet the demands of experienced lawyers and recent law graduates of proven ability.
    The program is also open to university graduates with degrees in disciplines other than law, whose professional experience has prepared them for the study of the law of commodities trading.

  • What will you learn?

    The core curriculum of the Fribourg Law LLM in Commodity Trading offers students  an in depth knowledge of relevant areas of national and international law in a comparative perspective. After an introduction to comparative contract law, the course will focus on:

    • international sales of physical goods and derivatives;
    • law of the sea and shipping by sea, rail, road and air, and multimodal transport;
    • insurance law, including marine and credit risk insurance;
    • environmental law;
    • dispute resolution, including trade arbitration (GAFTA, FOSFA, RSA) and commercial mediation;
    • european and comparative private international law, including conflict of laws, jurisdiction, enforcement of foreign awards and provisional measures;
    • financing contracts, including documentary credit, secured transactions and bankruptcy;
    • WTO law;
    • taxation, including corporate taxation, VAT and customs regulations;
    • anti-corruption and anti-money laundering and trade compliance.

    The curriculum offers numerous options for putting together individualized study modules suited to their own specific needs and interests. Modules can include any combination of curriculum units chosen from a wide variety of offerings:

    • anti-trust law, EU institutional law, EU internal market law, and intellectual property law;
    • specialized courses on law and business in the world's fastest growing economies – in  Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America;
    • cross-disciplinary courses in economics, business ethics and business anthropology;
    • participation in legal clinics and moot courts;
    • business negotiation training, legal drafting, and other skills-oriented courses and seminars.

    Successful completion of each unit allows students to earn the number of ECTS credits corresponding to the investment of time and effort demanded. Units may require between 6 and 24 hours of classroom time, spread over intervals ranging from one day to a maximum of three weeks. For a listing of the curriculum units and the ECTS credits to be earned for each unit, please consult the program structure using the link at the bottom of this page.

  • Your Career Options

    The Fribourg Law LLM in Commodity Trading will prepare you for career opportunities in commodity trading companies, law offices and consulting firms, national and international organizations, and in non-governmental organizations.

  • Curriculum Structure and Requirements

    The LLM Program in Commodity Trading is designed to be completed in two semesters:

    • the fall semester runs from mid-September to mid-December
    • the spring semester runs from mid-February to mid-June

    Students are admitted at the beginning of each semester.

    All courses are held in English.

    On average, you will have four hours of classes per day.

    To receive their degree, students must complete a sufficient number of curriculum units to earn a minimum of 60 ECTS credits, including:

    • 50 ECTS credits for coursework
    • 10 ECTS for preparation of a master’s thesis or internship.
  • Tuition Fees

    Tuition Fees

    The full tuition fees amount to CHF 16,500.- and must be paid before graduation.

    Application Costs

    We do not require upfront payments for the treatment of application files. Successful candidates are required to pay an administrative fee of CHF 150.- and a registration fee of CHF 1500.-. Both fees are due 10 days after a successful application and are non-refundable. An invoice will be sent by email. These costs count toward the tuition fee.

    Payment Options

    Students can pay tuition fees with a 20% discount when paying in full before the semester starts, or in instalments throughout the first academic year.

    For more details, please contact us directly.

  • Scholarships

    Excellence Scholarship Program

    Under the Excellence Scholarship Program, we provide scholarships, each worth CHF 8500 for outstanding candidates.

     Scholarships are available to LLM candidates. Their award and amount depend on the academic excellence evidenced notably by:

    • results in a bachelor's and masters' degree;
    • professional and academic achievements.

    Regional Scholarship Program

    The Regional Scholarship is available to applicants from developing countries, least developed countries, or countries in transition. The scholarship amounts to CHF 8250.-.

    Click here to download the list of countries qualifying for Regional Scholarship.

    Please note: The number of grants is limited, and the Regional Scholarship cannot be combined with the Excellence Scholarship.

    How to apply for a scholarship

    Scholarship applicants must first apply to a Fribourg Law LLM Program and select the scholarship option during the application process.


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    Chad Yazzie (USA)

    "The Master of Laws in Cross-Cultural Business Practice was a great capstone to my legal studies. Through completion of the program, I was able to distinguish myself from other graduating law students who did not have the international exposure to business and commercial law that I found at the University of Fribourg. When I came back to the United States, even in the depressed economy, my LL.M. enhanced profile made it easier for me to get informational interviews with established attorneys who work in both international and domestic commercial law. As employers were impressed with my international business law exposure, the program enabled me to secure employment at at top-11 national accounting firm and then a Wall Street corporate financing firm."

    Mine Ekim (Turkey)

    "Picture a city, which preserved its medieval center as a whole that is now one of the largest in Europe, located directly at the language and cultural border between the German and French speaking parts of Switzerland and nestled between Northern and Southern Europe, with the country’s only bilingual university celebrating its tradition of law teaching going back to 250 years in 2013. Now, imagine a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in this city offering unique English speaking postgraduate legal studies opportunity on a wide range of international business law topics enhanced through the involvement of leading and inspiring law practitioners, professors, experts and individuals from all around the world to convey ideas and knowledge to people from different cultures and legal backgrounds and receive them so as to broaden one’s legal vision and view of the global world. Take a step further in this LL.M. not only to embrace the internship options designed to tie legal theory with practice in a multinational business environment, but also to turn someone into a well-equipped professional dedicated to intercultural awareness and self-improvement in the increasingly competitive international arena. Needless to say, this charming altogether set of elements, if not privileges, enchanted me at its most."