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The LLM in Legal Translation combines legal translation theory and practice with training in the law. The degree is awarded jointly through the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) and the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) by the University of London.

This innovative and interdisciplinary LLM programme builds on the two institutes’ extensive research expertise in global law and language. Students of the course will be part of a dynamic network that brings together practitioners in translation and the law, professional bodies, institutions, governments, and corporations. The ground-breaking initiative encompasses international seminars, discussion panels with world experts, and access to multinational research networks.

The LLM in Legal Translation has been designed to meet the needs of professionals who might not be able to take a year off work to pursue a master’s degree. Students do not need to be in London on a daily or even a weekly basis as the majority of the course is delivered by distance learning.

Contact the institute

If you have specific questions about this degree, please contact us or make an enquiry.

Why choose this degree?

The interdisciplinary nature of the programme means that applicants are not required to have a law degree or a professional qualification in law, although advanced competence in at least two languages (including English) is a prerequisite. 

Choose this degree if:

  • You are a lawyer who wishes to build upon your existing language skills and engage in challenging work in an international environment
  • You have professional experience working as a translator and want to obtain a legal qualification while deepening your knowledge of the latest legal translation theories and research
  • You are a graduate in law or related disciplines who wishes to pursue a career as a legal translator
  • You are a graduate in modern languages, translation studies, or other related disciplines who wishes to pursue a career as a legal translator
  • You work at a law firm, corporation, government, or institution and would like to enhance your career prospects with the prestigious LLM qualification
  • You have a background in university lecturing in law, modern languages, translation studies, or other related disciplines and you are looking to enhance your qualifications in order to teach legal translation studies

How will this degree benefit me?

The LLM in Legal Translation aims to:

  • Promote best practice in the field by offering a world-renowned and prestigious legal qualification that develops individual careers
  • Build on linguistic knowledge and provide students with the opportunity to obtain a systematic understanding and knowledge of the skills required for the legal translation profession
  • Facilitate an understanding of the theories, values, principles and rules of Legal Translation Studies
  • Give you a critical awareness of issues in translating legal concepts across jurisdictions, in texts from various genres, and for different purposes 
  • Enable you to complement high-level expertise in evolving technologies, with a discriminating eye for their appropriate use
  • Incorporate pre-professionalisation by exploring ethics, codes of conduct, business skills, and a wide array of real-world scenarios and contexts
  • Enable you to develop an understanding of techniques applicable to research and advanced scholarship, and to demonstrate independence and originality in the application of knowledge

Degree Overview

The LLM in Legal Translation is an unparalleled opportunity – both for those who have already worked as translators or lawyers, and for those newly entering the profession, as a way to acquire benchmark interdisciplinary skills and benefit from the latest ground-breaking research in the field.

Core and elective modules are selected according to your  background and goals. The method of assessment is ongoing, through coursework and a final dissertation.

You will receive one-to-one tutor feedback and personalised guidance. A number of extra-curricular activities are offered in addition to free regular events organised by the institutes that engage our students directly with working professionals in the field.  

The course will enable you to develop an international network of contacts with students and fellows at IALS, IMLR, and across the School of Advanced Study as a whole, and you will be immersed in a world-leading research environment. In addition, you will have access to the unparalleled holdings of the University of London libraries.

Modules and structure

Taught jointly by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Institute of Modern Languages Research, the LLM in Legal Translation is delivered through blended learning, predominantly online but with week-long workshops at IALS’s location in central London, which will also be used for the Themes module (filmed for participants who cannot attend in person). 

LLM content: six modules and dissertation

Students must complete six modules plus a 15,000-word dissertation. Each module counts for 10% of the final grade and the dissertation counts for 40% of the final grade. Each module will be be assessed by an essay or project.

Modules offered by the IALS are delivered via distance learning. Modules taught by the IMLR are delivered by blended learning, which is a mixture of distance-learning delivery and a week-long workshop for each module. The workshop for the Translation Theory and Practice module takes place in the middle of the term, while the one for the Legal Translation Technology module takes place at the start of the term.

Modules taught by IALS

  • Research Methods Training (compulsory)
  • Introduction to Common Law (compulsory for those without a legal background / training)
  • Legislative Drafting I (elective)
  • Legislative Drafting II (elective)
  • Comparative Legislative Studies I (elective)
  • Comparative Legislative Studies II (elective)

Modules taught by IMLR

  • Themes in Legal Translation (compulsory)
  • Legal Translation Technology (compulsory)
  • Legal Translation Theory and Practice (compulsory)


15,000 words, topic identified by student, to be agreed with supervisor.

Availability of elective modules may vary from year to year. One elective module must be taken by those with a non-legal background. Two elective modules are taken by those with a legal background. 

Lecturing and teaching

The majority of the course is taught online and in person by the institutes’ academic staff. The Themes module comprises a series of lectures by leading experts from research and practice.

Faculty members have published with leading academic presses and journals, have translated major government reports as well as national and European Union legislation, and have worked on prominent cross-border cases.

About the institute

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) conducts and supports legal research in its broadest sense, both nationally and internationally. Founded in 1947, it houses specialist research centres and innovative partnerships and is home to an active community of researchers, fellows and postgraduate students. It promotes new research agendas in specialist and interdisciplinary areas of law that directly impact policy and practice. It provides research training and online services, a meeting place for organisations and legal scholars from around the world, one of the world’s great legal research libraries and a busy programme of seminars and public events.

The Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) is committed to facilitating, initiating and promoting dialogue and research in modern languages in the UK and globally. It makes a vital contribution to national and international collaborative, 
inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural research by means of seminars, lectures, workshops, colloquia, conferences, a fellowships programme and six research centres.

Both Institutes are members of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. 

They are within walking distance of the British Library, the British Museum, all four Inns of Court, and the Royal Courts of Justice.

Entry requirements

The normal minimum entrance requirement would be a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a recognised university in the UK, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard (for example a grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher).

We will consider applications from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements but who offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience. Applicants are not required to have a law degree nor a professional qualification in law.

English is the language of instruction and applicants are required to demonstrate an appropriate level of proficiency.

Find out more about our entry requirements here. 

How to apply

You can apply online via our online applications system.


For more information on how to apply, click here.

Fees, funding and scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees here.

Cassal Bursary (French and Francophone Studies)

This bursary, made available by the Cassal Endowment Fund, is available to master's students intending to write their dissertation on a topic related to French or Francophone studies. In 2019-20 two bursaries of £7,500 will be available. All MA, MRes and LLM degrees offered by the School are eligible for the bursary. Find out more.

The School of Advanced Study has a range of funding opportunities for home, EU and international applicants. Find out more about funding opportunities here. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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