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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

Financial Law

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This course provides an understanding of the essential elements of financial law, examining the legal principles governing both the relations between financial institutions and their customers and also the financial relations between commercial entities. The course is based on English law. It includes such topics as bank deposits and accounts, the law relating to money and payments, and the law covering both secured and unsecured lending.


Study Guide

You will receive a looseleaf binder containing eight 'course units'. The units are carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the further assigned readings. The unit files are also available to download from the Online Study Centre.


Ross Cranston, (2003) Principles of Banking Law, Second Edition, Oxford University Press

Roy Goode - edited and fully revised by Ewan McKendrick (2010) Goode on Commercial Law, Fourth Edition, Penguin


You will receive two volumes of Readings, which consist of recently published articles or seminal writings which augment and illustrate the main text.

Online Study Centre

You will have access to the OSC, which is a web-accessed learning environment. Via the OSC, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the course using discussion forums. The OSC also provides access to the course Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

When you have completed your study of this course and its core readings, you will be able to:

  • Outline and discuss the importance of financial law for the creation and development of strong financial markets
  • Analyse the institutional framework that is necessary for the provision of credit and the operation of financial markets
  • Explain and critically discuss the basic legal components of the financial system
  • Examine and discuss the key legal problems that relate to the provision of finance and the ways in which financial institutions address such problems
  • Critically discuss the legal principles and rules applicable to bank deposits and the relationship between the banker and the customer
  • Discuss and analyse the basic legal principles underpinning commercial and international banking transactions
  • Identify and critically evaluate the legal risks involved in the process of agreeing and documenting the most basic financial agreement
  • Analyse and discuss the basic legal components of the payment systems of key jurisdictions of the world
  • Critically evaluate the nature, scope, economic function of security in the provision of finance

Scope and syllabus

Course Units
Unit 1: Introduction to Financial Law
  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 The Banking System
  • 1.3 Capital Markets
  • 1.4 The Importance of Law for Financial Markets
  • 1.5 The Legal Preconditions for Efficient Financial Markets
  • 1.6 The Institutional Preconditions for Efficient Financial Markets
Unit 2: The Needs of Finance and the Character of English Financial Law
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 The Needs of Finance
  • 2.3 The Nature of English Financial Law
  • 2.4 The Principal Sources of English Financial Law
Unit 3: Bank Deposits and Accounts
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Bank Deposits and the Financial System
  • 3.3 The Banker-Customer Relationship
  • 3.4 The Legal Properties of Bank Accounts
  • 3.5 Confidentiality and Data Protection
  • 3.6 The Law of Electronic Banking
  • 3.7 Conclusions
Unit 4: The Law Relating to Money and Payments
  • 4.1 Introduction to Money and Payments
  • 4.2 The Legal Concept of Money
  • 4.3 The Legal Concept of Payment
  • 4.4 Payments by Bank Transfers
  • 4.5 Payment Systems: Clearing and Settlement
Unit 5: The Law Relating to Loans and Credit
  • 5.1 Introduction to Lending and Bank-Based Finance
  • 5.2 Forms of Credit
  • 5.3 The Loan Agreement and Principal Questions of Law
  • 5.4 The Law Relating to Consumer Lending
Unit 6: The Law of Secured Finance
  • 6.1 Introduction to the Mechanisms of Credit Enhancement
  • 6.2 The Economic Rationale of Secured Finance
  • 6.3 Forms of Security: Pledge, Mortgage and Charge
  • 6.4 Issues of Priority and Enforcement
  • 6.5 Key Considerations
Unit 7: The Law Relating to the Control of Financial Crisis
  • 7.1 Introduction to the 2008-2009 Financial Crisis
  • 7.2 The Northern Rock Banking Crisis
  • 7.3 The Banking Act 2009
  • 7.4 The Definition of a Failing Bank
Unit 8: Questions of Liability
  • 8.1 Introduction to the Concept of Liability
  • 8.2 Doctrinal Bases of Liability
  • 8.3 Advice
  • 8.4 Lender Liability

Method of assessment

You will complete two assignments, which will be marked by your course tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 5, and the second assignment at the end of the course, on the Tuesday after Week 8. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Online Study Centre. You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published in April of each year.