LL.M. Programme


The Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Maritime Law consists of post-graduate education in all areas of international maritime law, including law of the sea, shipping law, maritime security law and marine environmental law (please click here for the detailed programme structure). The programme is also designed to provide specialized training in the development and drafting of maritime legislation which incorporates and effectively implements an international instrument, especially IMO treaties, into domestic legislation. Intensive drafting exercises are carried out taking into account both the international nature of treaty rules as well as national maritime policies and objectives.

The Institute's resident faculty is responsible for the teaching of all subjects with the Institute’s academic syllabi. The teaching of the resident faculty is complemented by the Distinguished Visiting Fellows Programme which aims to introduce students to the latest developments and offers networking opportunities which should serve students well when they return to their home countries. Distinguished visiting fellows come from leading universities, while others came from international institutions such as the IMO, the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Law Commission (ILC), the Comité Maritime International (CMI), and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). Other visiting fellows include eminent practitioners, diplomats and leading personalities in the maritime industry.

As part of the programme, students also take part in field study visits that link theoretical knowledge to practical experience. Typical destinations include shipyards, port terminals, training simulator centres and commercial and war ships. Students also receive complimentary attendance at the international conferences organized annually at IMLI. At the end of programme, the Institute organizes a field trip to London where the newly graduated participants visit important maritime institutions, including IMO where they have the opportunity to meet again the IMO Secretary-General, senior IMO officials and geographical point representatives.

Inaugural Lecture for Academic Year 2019 / 2020

The LL.M. programme is an exciting inter–cultural journey as the Institute draws candidates from across the globe. IMLI promotes a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation between cultures, paving the way for future collaboration between graduates in combining efforts towards maritime law unification.

The programme is mainly addressed to lawyers, legal advisers, judges and legal draftsmen and women whose duties encompass maritime issues and who are seeking a specialisation in maritime law. The programme is also open to law graduates of any country who intend to pursue a legal career in the field of maritime law whether in the public or private sectors, whether in practice, administration or academia. In order to promote the integration of women in the maritime sector, fifty percent of the places in the programme are reserved for suitably qualified women candidates.

Candidates for the programme are usually officially nominated by their governments or national administrations. The Institute also considers applications from independent candidates. It is generally recognized that in a large number of developing States there are very few lawyers with specialized knowledge of maritime law. Consequently, the availability of well-trained maritime lawyers enables these States to review and update their maritime legislation in accordance with international rules and prescriptions.

Students are assessed on the basis of their performance throughout the year, the results of two written examinations, an individual 10,000-word supervised dissertation and a maritime legislation drafting project. Candidates who successfully complete the programme are awarded the degree of Master of Laws in International Maritime Law. The teaching in the programme as well as the preparation of assignments, dissertation and maritime legislation drafting project is in the English language.

Academic Requirements

The Institute will consider the applications of candidates who meet its academic requirements, which are:

a)  a degree in law with a high standing from a recognized university;

b)  proficiency in the English language (see the full proficiency of English language requirements below); and

c)  computer competence (at least the ability to use Microsoft Office). Computer competence is essential as students are required to use computers to carry out research and to complete their assignments and academic projects. In addition, computer competence is important in the event the Institute holds examinations online.

Proficiency of English Language

All students must be fully proficient in the English language by the time they begin their studies. This means that they should be fully acquainted with the fundamentals of the English language, i.e. in reading, writing, listening, comprehension and speaking skills. Students who have not studied or made active use of the English language in recent years are STRONGLY advised to refresh their English knowledge PRIOR to their arrival in Malta. They should bear in mind that the study of international maritime law in the English language demands a sophisticated knowledge of the language. Production of evidence of English language proficiency is required. Therefore, as a pre-requisite for the admission, the Institute may require candidates to undertake one of the following tests:


Administered on demand at local British Council offices / British Embassies.
Further information on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) can be found at http://www.ielts.org. A pass above band 6 means the student can participate fully in the programme.


Further information on the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency may be obtained by contacting British Embassies/Consulates or the British Council, the Institute, or by visiting the following website: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/proficiency. A pass level means that the student can participate fully in the programme.


Further information on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) may be obtained through American Embassies / Consulates or the U.S. Information Agency, or by visiting the following website http://www.toefl.org. A pass above 600 or above 227 CBT or above 87 IBT means that the student can participate fully in the programme.

If the test taken is not one of the above, the score, together with reference material on the system used, may be sent to the Institute for evaluation and advice. A certified copy of the test results should be sent to the Institute along with the application. Further, the Institute reserves the right to conduct online interviews with candidates applying to the programme to assess their level of English in order to ensure that they have the command necessary to undertake and successfully complete the programme.


Further information on the CEFR may be obtained by visiting the following website: https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages/level-descriptions. A B2 level means that the student can participate fully in the programme.

Programme Fee

Information on the programme fee can be found in the application package.

Candidates are required to have financing for their enrolment in the programme. Candidates are therefore strongly advised to explore all funding possibilities in their home countries, including seeking sponsorship from companies or organizations for which they work or applying for national or international fellowship programmes. The IMLI website provides a list of some of the entities which have offered financial support in the past.

Payments should be remitted to the Institute's bank account (transfer charges are to be borne by the applicant). Details are as follows: 

Account Name: IMO International Maritime Law Institute
Address: University of Malta Campus, Msida MSD 2080, Malta
Telephone #: (356) 2131 9343
Account #: 4001 3713 797
Bank Name: Bank of Valletta
Bank Branch Name: L-Ibrag Branch
Bank Address:  Triq Tal-Ibrag, Tal-Ibrag, Is-Swieqi. SWQ 2030
IBAN: MT58 VALL 2201 3000 0000 4001 3713 797
Currency: EURO

Mr. Jim Harrison (UK, Former Group Legal Director, Lloyd’s Register and IMLI Governor) lectures at IMLI on 22 April, 2019.

Financial Support

Although the Institute does not offer fellowships, it is willing to approach fellowship donors who sponsor the full studies of a limited number of deserving government-nominated candidates. For this reason, a government entity must nominate the candidate to the programme. Such candidates should normally be persons already serving in or intended to be appointed to a Government Ministry or Department concerned with legal, port or shipping affairs, or an organization in the country of the nominating Government involved in these matters.

By nominating the candidate to the programme, the nominating authority must submit a duly completed nomination form wherein it includes the request for financial support. Applications which are not accompanied by this nomination form, will not be considered by the Institute. In addition, candidates applying for a fellowship will need to complete the fellowship application form and submit proof of payment of the fellowship application fee.

By submitting an application and nominating a person for studies at the Institute, both the applicant and the nominating authority are confirming that they are aware of the national legislative and/or administrative requirements which have to be met by selected applicants, prior to travelling to the Institute and commencing their studies; that the aforesaid requirements are met for the duration of their studies; and that they will promptly take the actions required to comply with these requirements.

It should be noted that donors have their own selection criteria when considering candidates applying for a fellowship. Generally donors prefer young and talented candidates (under the age of 40) from developing countries – including Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries – who have a strong motivation to work for their government and who, upon completion of their studies, will make a vital contribution to the development of the national legal framework and maritime sector.

In line with the Institute’s policy to ensure gender equality and equal access to education to female candidates, fifty percent of the places available are reserved for deserving women candidates.

Fellowship donors for the year 2019 included:

The Nippon Foundation of Japan

International Maritime Organization

Lloyd’s Register Foundation

ITF Seafarers’ Trust

Government of Malaysia

Government of Saudi Arabia

Government of Malta

Government of Ghana

All applications for a fellowship must be processed through the Institute. Applicants and nominating authorities shall not approach donors directly with application packages.

Candidates who have been awarded a fellowship, will also be required to pay a refundable deposit of Euro 500 within the deadline stipulated by the Institute. Said deposit will be returned to the candidate on completion of studies at IMLI.

Whatever the source of funding for the programme fee, candidates are reminded that the programme fee does not cover travel expenses. Travel arrangements will have to be arranged and settled by the participants and/or their nominating authorities.

Whatever the source of funding for the programme fee, candidates are reminded that the programme fee does not cover health insurance. Candidates admitted to the programme are required to have a health insurance for the whole duration of their stay in Malta with cover for hospital care. Evidence of this insurance may be required by the relevant Embassy when the student applies for an entry visa. However, health insurance is mandatory when candidates admitted to the programme apply in Malta for a study residence permit. Should admitted candidates find difficulty in obtaining insurance which cover extends for the whole duration of their stay in Malta, the Institute can assist in obtaining locally the required health insurance when the admitted candidate arrives in Malta.

For further details, please contact:

Ms.  Anusha Fernando
Admissions Officer
IMO International Maritime Law Institute
University of Malta Campus
Triq Roberto Ranieri Costaguti
Msida MSD 2080
Tel.: +356 21 319343, 21 310816, ext. 107
Fax: +356 21 343092

E-mail: admissions@imli.org

Hon. Minister Carmelo Abela (Minister for Foreign Affairs) visits IMLI, 7 February, 2020

How To Apply

All candidates must complete the Application Form. This form must be accompanied by:

(a) copies of the University degrees held by the candidate officially authenticated by the University concerned;

(b) a copy of the certificate of proficiency in English;

(c) the Medical Report Form duly completed by a registered Government Medical Practitioner;

(d) a letter of intent written by the candidate stating the candidate’s reasons for applying to the programme and his/her career objective. Candidates may use the Motivation Form included in the Application Package;

(e) two letters of reference covering the candidate’s ability to undertake the programme. Referees should be persons who are not related to the candidate and who are familiar with the candidate’s character and qualifications. Referees should use, where possible, the Reference Form provided in the Application Package;

(d) a non-refundable application and processing fee of €150;

Candidates who require financial assistance must complete the nominated candidate application package and must also submit the following documents:

(a) the Nomination Form duly completed, signed and stamped by the nominating authority;

(b) the fellowship application form duly completed and signed by the applicant and the nominating authority.

(c) a non-refundable fellowship application fee of €200. This fellowship application fee is in addition to the processing fee of €150 provided for in paragraph (d) above. The fellowship application fee covers all administration costs incurred in approaching potential sponsors and seeking fellowship funding for the candidates.

When all the criteria for admission, including clearance and confirmation of financing, have been met, the candidate and the nominating authority (where applicable) shall be notified in writing that the candidate has been selected for admission to the programme.

The Institute must receive from the candidate and his/her nominating authority (where applicable) a confirmation in writing as to whether the candidate is ready to join the programme, whereupon the candidate will be admitted to the programme.

For further details, please contact:

Ms. Anusha Fernando
Admissions Officer
IMO International Maritime Law Institute
University of Malta Campus
Triq Roberto Ranieri Costaguti
Msida MSD 2080
Tel.: +356 21 319343, 310816, ext. 107
Fax: +356 21 343092

E-mail: admissions@imli.org 

 All applications should be type-written and sent to: 

The Director
IMO International Maritime Law Institute
University of Malta Campus
Triq Roberto Ranieri Costaguti
Msida MSD 2080

Downloadable Application Package for the 2024-2025 - LL.M. Programme :

Nominated Candidates

Self-financed Candidates

Dr. Ann Fenech (Malta, Managing Partner at Fenech & Fenech Advocates and President at Malta Maritime Law Association) lectures at IMLI, 19 October, 2017