Masters in Maritime Law seeks to solidify UAE maritime education

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Introduction of LLM programme will fill gap in UAE maritime education, unify industry and enhance country’s stance as main shipping hub

The City Law School and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Academy of Law have announced a joint venture to launch the region’s first specialized Masters in Maritime Law (LLM). Set to begin in early 2019 in Dubai, this programme is intended for law graduates, lawyers and working professionals across the maritime sector; such as ships’ officers, shipbrokers and claims handlers.

With the UAE’s maritime sector rapidly advancing, the industry has yet to find permanency in maritime education. Professor Jason Chuah, Head of Department and Professor of Commercial and Maritime Law, The City Law School, part of City, University of London, aims to further reinforce UAE maritime education through this  new programme. Chuah stated: “Much like we see in London and Singapore, concentrating on training people who believe they have a stake in this country will develop the consistency that this industry needs.”

Delivered by academics from the City Law School alongside legal practitioners and occasional specialist lecturers, the LLM programme will consist of four modules with a focus on topics such as shipping contracts, insurance, admiralty practice, international sale of goods, and commercial arbitration. Taught at the Academy’s DIFC campus over intensive weekend blocks, the flexible programme is designed to enable students to fit their studies around full-time professional commitments.

Filling the industry’s gap                                   

With strong legal professional training programmes, individuals qualifying as lawyers in the region is sufficient, but with maritime serving as a primary driver of economy, a high need for specialists is growing increasingly relevant. Consequently, a genuine commitment to educating both the current and up-and-coming generation is underway to ensure the UAE government agenda to maintain the country position as a competitive maritime hub.

When asked to elaborate on the rationale behind the postgraduate programme, Chuah clarified, “Today we live in a globalized world and networked society. Sectors such as trade, logistics and supply chain are all key in terms of the region’s  success. With 90 per cent of world trade dependent on shipping and the UAE being strategically well-placed for shipping logistics, there is an urgent need to upgrade maritime training and awareness. More targeted education for working professionals would aid in taking the industry to the next level.”

Sustainable development of the sector should stand upon continuity as opposed to reliance on the repetitive cycle of starting and stopping. Chuah explained: “The longer we wait, the more time the industry will take to develop. Without specialist education, a well-rounded provision of legal skills and competencies, our objective of growing the sector will always have to rely on foreign skills rather than local skills.”

Assuring quality without compromise

Over the last decade, LLM has run in both London and Greece that are considered as two maritime hubs with numerous legally qualified shipping professionals. Chuah added:  “We don’t believe in the old way of teaching where we send an expert to talk while everyone listens. Our academic staff are not just experts, they also understand and value student involvement, participation, and expectations.”

The rigorous programme spanning 14-30 months, dependent on whether taken as a full-time or part-time student, respectively, will be continually reviewed and tracked to ensure the curriculum remains satisfactory as per the students’ standards. With classes taking place on the weekends, the programme will offer flexibility for those wishing to work simultaneously along with a convenient period of up to five months. As per course completion, students will need to submit a mandatory thesis.r those wishing to enhance their maritime knowledge and even for those already in maritime simply seeking to further enhance their career, LLM is the  ideal  programme to apply for. The City Law School has on offer a selective scholarship program for well qualified and driven fresh graduates with good GPAs. For professionals and executives already in employment, admission will be made on the basis of professional and educational experience, and personal motivation. Chuah concluded:  “Those interested in applying can visit https://www.city.ac.uk/law, follow the links, fill out the application forms, upload their paperwork, and expect a response within a month.”

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