Legal Concepts in Financial Law

The purpose of this course is to explore the most significant legal concepts and private law issues encountered in commercial finance and in commercial and investment banking. This is particularly topical, as many of these issues have been brought into sharp focus by the recent financial crisis.

Students will be introduced to the various concepts in contract, property and fiduciary law which are used to allocate, manage and transfer risk in transactions on capital markets and in commercial banking. They will also be invited to consider the legal nature of property, money and payment, and the conceptual basis for corporate personality and limited liability. By examining a range of transactions, and critically considering relevant case law and legislation in the light of market practice, this course will provide a deep understanding of the part that private law plays in the operation of financial markets. Transactional structures covered will include loans, guarantees, documentary credits and first demand bonds, security, debt issues on the capital markets (and other intermediated securities), derivatives and structured finance.

The focus will be on English law, although the law of other jurisdictions (particularly common law jurisdictions) will be studied where appropriate for criticism and comparison. Whilst the course will primarily be a doctrinal law course, involving close study of cases and legislation and analysis of their underlying principles, the reading lists will contain a significant amount of secondary material examining wider policy issues, different theoretical approaches and possible legal reform.

The course will be taught in twelve sets of lectures and seminars, and four tutorials. Teaching will be by Professor Ewan McKendrick QC (Hon) FBA, Professor Andreas Televantos and Visiting Professor Mr Richard Salter QC, with input from others practising in this area of law.

Learning outcomes: a knowledge of some of the more topical and/or complex issues in the banking and financial field (the particular topics selected reflecting the research and professional interests of the teaching team) and a comprehensive understanding of the part that private law plays in the operation of financial markets.