ABOUT THE ADVANCED LLM PROGRAMME

ACADEMIC TITLE AND ACCREDITATION

The quality of this master’s programme has been positively assessed by the Accreditation Organisation of The Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that upon successful completion of the programme students receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in International Tax Law and the title Master of Laws (LLM).

THE APPROACH OF THE PROGRAMME

The approach that is taken to teaching this programme is to deal with the “big picture” of international tax law and to study the technicalities in the context of the broad policy issues. Major themes of the programme include:

  • Evaluating the tax policy choices made by states, particularly in the context of cross-border structures and the flow of capital, income and persons;
  • Examining the interaction among the various forces that shape international tax law – domestic law, bilateral treaties, multinational agreements, inter-governmental organizations, case law and academic writing.

Most students start this programme having completed a first law degree that taught them the principles, concepts and difficulties of a single legal system. Their study of tax law is generally based on the concepts and principles of their home country and the international element confined to the cross-border issues encountered by that country. The UvA/IBFD programme builds on this basis and deepen the understanding of the students through a comparative element and an international element.

Through classroom discussions and presentations the students learn to form and defend their own opinion on both the current international tax order and proposals and possibilities for change. Advance preparation is generally required for the classroom sessions and the small class size allows lively classroom debate.

The programme lasts one academic year and requires a full-time commitment from the students.  The first term of each year’s programme starts in September. The second term ends in June, although the students have until July (date to be decided) to complete the final version of their thesis.

PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

The programme requires students to obtain a total of 60 study points according to the ECTS system. Click here
The study points are divided as follows:

SKILLS TRAINING

The programme includes components that allow the students to delve into selected issues in depth and, at the same time, develop their professional skills, such as:
• A moot court in which students present both written and oral pleadings;
• A mock tax treaty negotiation, carried out in small teams over a period of several months under the guidance of a mentor with negotiating experience.

Students are regularly required to make class presentations and to join in with classroom debate. Feedback is given, both on content and presen­tation style, by the lecturers and fellow students.

Writing skills are particularly important and most of the course components conclude with a written exam requiring a number of short essays. Students are also required to write a final paper, giving them the opportunity to define and focus on their own research question. Throughout the programme we pay attention to the structure of their written work as well as its content.

The following table gives an overview of the most important skills training elements in the programme.

RESEARCH SKILLS

Component

Block 3 optional courses – essay

Assignment

Analyse subject matter of essay, define scope of essay, select materials, evaluate information found, structure an analysis of the topic

Component

Tax treaty negotiation

Assignment

Analyse issues to be considered, formulate policy objectives, evaluate possible treaty articles in the light of policy objectives

Component

Moot court – written pleadings

Assignment

Analyse case and assigned standpoint, select materials, evaluate information found, structure arguments to support assigned standpoint

Component

LLM thesis

Assignment

Define research question, define scope of thesis, select materials, evaluate information found, structure results, develop original thought on basis of the research findings

PUBLICATION OF LLM THESIS

LLM theses that achieve an excellent standard will be promoted for publication by the programme faculty. In many cases they will be selected for publication by IBFD in one of its periodicals, but if the topic of the thesis is not suitable for publication by IBFD the faculty members will assist the student in seeking publication elsewhere.

Graduating students who have written their LLM thesis on a topic relevant to the annual graduation day seminar may be invited to participate in the seminar as a panellist if their thesis achieves a standard that is high enough. In this case, the LLM thesis will be published by IBFD as one of the seminar papers.

ASSESSMENTS

The following table gives an overview of the assessments that contribute to the final grade. Each course grade is weighted in the final overall grade according to the study load of the course. Note that the final thesis has a study load of 15 ECTS and therefore contributes ¼ of the overall grade.

COMPULSORY COURSES

Course Foundation Taxation in (public) international law and taxation of individuals
Teaching method Classroom teaching
Form of assessment Written examination
Contribution to course grade 100%

Course EU tax law
Teaching method Classroom teaching
Form of assessment Written examination
Contribution to course grade 100%

Course Taxation of business profit and companies
Teaching method Classroom teaching
Form of assessment Written examination
Contribution to course grade 100%

Course Tax treaties
Teaching method Classroom teaching
Form of assessment Written examination
Contribution to course grade 50%

Teaching method Treaty negotiation exercise in groups with mentor
Form of assessment Individual explanatory memorandum, input from group mentor
Contribution to course grade 50%

Course Business Taxation and Tax Treaties Advanced
Teaching method Classroom teaching
Form of assessment Written examination
Contribution to course grade 100%

Course VAT/GST
Teaching method Classroom teaching
Form of assessment Written examination
Contribution to course grade 100%

Course Moot court
Teaching method Written pleadings
Form of assessment Individual pleadings
Contribution to course grade 60%

Teaching method Oral pleadings
Form of assessment Individual pleadings
Contribution to course grade 40%

Course Final thesis
Teaching method Individual supervision by an ACTL lecturer
Form of assessment Written thesis, assessed by supervisor and one other ACTL lecturer, when appropriate also input from external supervisor
Contribution to course grade 100%

OPTIONAL COURSES

Course Block 3
Teaching method Classroom teaching
Form of assessment Classroom presentation
Contribution to course grade 20%

Form of assessment Essay
Contribution to course grade 80%

Course Block 4
Teaching method Classroom teaching
Form of assessment Written examination
Contribution to course grade 100%

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