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ELLM: Upcoming modules

The Executive LLM programme offers a powerful combination of information and inspiration. The teaching has been superb and the calibre of the student body is excellent.

Session: 16-20 December 2019

Take-Home Exam Date: Friday 21 February 2020 - Sunday 23 February 2020

Banking and finance law: Regulating retail, consumer and SME markets 

Teacher: Dr Joseph Spooner

As the past decade has transformed understandings of finance and the economy, it has generated increasingly widespread recognition of the economic centrality of household finance. Responsibility for both the Global Financial Crisis and subsequent Great Recession can be attributed to failures of household credit markets. Consumer expenditure accounts for over 50% of GDP in most OECD economies, meaning that the financial markets and products powering this spending are of central policy importance. Key contemporary problems of economic stagnation, inequality, and political instability can all in some ways be linked to problems arising in consumer financial markets, which are increasingly important sites of legal and political activity. The economic significance of SME finance is similarly clear. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for 99% of firms and approximately 70% of jobs in OECD countries, and questions of how these firms access finance raise perennial policy concerns. The political and regulatory disruption of Brexit also makes this is a key time for the study of banking and finance law as it relates to consumers and SMEs. Questions arise as to the future for consumers, SMEs, and financial institutions, as regulatory regimes and capital flows are changed by the UK’s departure from the EU. The significance and expansive reach of the consumer and SME dimensions of financial law are not matched by coverage in typical law school curricula – this course aims to address this imbalance by presenting a unique offering. The course begins by discussing key principles and theoretical ideas of retail financial market regulation. It considers the nature and structure of consumer and SME financial markets, examining the institutions and sources that create the ground rules of markets, involving questions of how financial laws and regulations in these markets are made, applied, and enforced. The course applies and tests these ideas in examining discrete markets and areas of law, drawing on a combination of international norms and detailed examples from European, North American and English law. The course is structured uniquely around a thematic approach, discussing legal material through key questions of consumer/SME financial law and policy. Themes include:

  • The place(s) of consumers and small enterprises in the Real Economy
  • Aims and justifications of regulation in consumer and SME financial markets
  • Consumers, SMEs and financial stability (including prudential regulation and its interaction with consumer/SME protection)
  • Access to finance (basic banking; the cashless society; fintech)
  • Complexity in financial products (including product design and the regulation of contract terms; information asymmetry and disclosure regulations; behavioural perspectives and ‘nudging’)
  • Mis-selling scandals and legal responses (including mortgage lending crises and ‘responsible lending’; SME derivatives mis-selling and investor protection rules)
  • Cross subsidisation, price discrimination, and fairness in financial services pricing (‘the poor pay more’; the ‘loyalty penalty’)
  • The problem of high-cost credit and usury regulation (the Wonga saga and payday loan regulation; bank overdrafts; the role of price regulation in financial markets)
  • Wall Street v Main Street (dispute resolution and enforcement; financial law-making)
  • Financial failure and default (entrepreneurship and bankruptcy law; over-indebtedness and consumer bankruptcy) 

Module Code: LL450E

Take-Home Exam Date: Friday 21 February 2020 - Sunday 23 February 2020. Students will need to be available to complete their 48 hour take-home examination during the weekend specified.

Taxation of wealth

Teacher: Dr Andrew Summers

The module examines the taxation of wealth from a variety of academic perspectives, drawing on research from political theory, economics, sociology and law. Taxes on wealth are defined broadly to include taxes on transfers of wealth, returns on wealth, and holdings of wealth. The module equips students with an interdisciplinary framework for explaining and evaluating taxes on wealth, and applies these approaches to existing tax policies and options for reform. The focus is on the UK and US contexts although comparisons are also made with other jurisdictions.Part I of the course introduces key debates from across the social sciences relevant to the taxation of wealth. Seminars 1-5 cover: (i) defining and measuring wealth; (ii) inequality and distributive justice; (iii) property rights; (iv) economic perspectives; and (v) social and political perspectives. Part II applies these debates to specific wealth tax policies. Seminars 6-10 cover: (i) taxes on transfers: inheritance/estate tax, lifetime receipts tax, comprehensive income tax; (ii) taxes on returns: capital gains tax, capital income tax and (iii) taxes on holdings: property tax, land-value tax, net wealth tax.

Module code: LL4COE

Take-Home Exam Date: Friday 21 February 2020 - Sunday 23 February 2020. Students will need to be available to complete their 48 hour take-home examination during the weekend specified.

Terrorism and the rule of law

This module will provide a theoretical and historical introduction to the concept of terrorism. It will critically consider definitions of terrorism, and analyse the relationship between terrorism and the right to rebel, and the right to engage in civil disobedience. The historical development of the idea of 'terrorism' from the late eighteenth century through to the present will then be traced, with the emphasis on locating the practice of political terror in its political and military/quasi-military context. The role of international law generally and international human rights law in particular in the context of terrorism and anti-terrorism action will be considered in detail. The module will teach the material in context, so the subject will be analysed by reference to particular situations where necessary, eg Northern Ireland, the Palestine/Israel conflict and the post 11 September 'war on terror'' The aim of the module is to give the student a good critical understanding of this most controversial of subjects, and also to impart an understanding of the role of law in shaping the fields of terrorism and of counter-terrorism (and, latterly, the emerging field of 'extremism').

Module code: LL448E

Take-Home Exam Date: Friday 21 February 2020 - Sunday 23 February 2020. Students will need to be available to complete their 48 hour take-home examination during the weekend specified.

Comparative corporate governance

Teachers: Professor David Kershaw; Professor Carsten Gerner-Beuerle; Edmund Schuster

This module will focus on topical issues in corporate governance, including: corporate governance codes as a regulatory technique; corporate governance reform, firm performance and financial development; the role of the board of directors in large public companies and groups of companies; the division of powers between the managers and shareholders; directors’ duties and enforcement of duties; executive remuneration; stakeholder representation, in particular employee representation, in corporate decision-making; shareholder activism and corporate short-termism; the market for corporate control as a corporate governance device.

Module code: LL418E

Take-Home Exam Date: Friday 21 February 2020 - Sunday 23 February 2020. Students will need to be available to complete their 48 hour take-home examination during the weekend specified.


Session: 20-24 April 2020

Take-Home Exam Date: Friday 26 June 2020 - Sunday 28 June  2020

UK Corporate Law

UK corporate law is an advanced corporate law module focusing only on UK law. The module covers in-depth the core areas of UK corporate law including:

The conception of the UK company;
separate legal personality and piercing the corporate veil;
corporate actions in contract, tort and criminal law;
the balance of power in the company between the board and the shareholder meeting;
UK board composition regulation;
Directors' duties and their enforcement;
minority shareholder protection; and
the role of company law in protecting creditors.

The module will rely on in-class case studies and problem questions to explore the applicable law and its development.

Lecturer: Professor David Kershaw

Module Code: LL439E

Tax Avoidance

This module will provide a comprehensive overview of the phenomenon of tax avoidance and of the attempts by states to combat it: both unilaterally and multilaterally. Whilst using examples predominantly from the UK and USA the issues addressed by the module are general across many jurisdictions and so will be applicable to those with interests beyond the UK and USA.

Taxpayers have always sought to minimise their tax burden. However recent decades have witnessed a sharp rise in popular and governmental concern with tax shelters and other tax avoidance. Traditional strategies of tax avoidance have included postponement of taxes and tax arbitrage, in addition to attempting to exploit ‘loopholes’ through a formalist interpretation of legislation. In recent years the proliferation of complex financial instruments has increased the opportunities for such avoidance. Additionally, globalisation and the development of the digital economy have facilitated tax avoidance strategies of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). This rise in opportunities for tax avoidance has been accompanied by an increased public concern that individuals and companies pay their ‘fair share’ of taxation: which states have responded to both through unilateral and multilateral actions (including the OECD’s project on BEPS and the EU’s Anti Tax Avoidance Package).

Particular topics covered are likely to include (i) defining avoidance; (ii) strategies of tax avoidance; (iii) statutory interpretation and judicial approaches to tax avoidance especially with reference to the UK and USA; (iv) General Anti-Abuse and Anti-Avoidance Rules and Specific and Targeted Anti-Avoidance Rules; (v) reporting rules and other policies to deter avoidance; (vi) the OECD response to BEPS; (vii) BEPS and the EU; and (viii) corporate social responsibility, professional ethics and public attitudes with regard tax avoidance.

Lecturer: Dr Michael Blackwell

Module Code: LL4CPE


This module critically analyses the regulation of the Internet and digital devices (such as smart devices and tablets).

It begins by providing a theoretical framework for the regulation of the Internet, examining questions such as whether the internet is capable of regulation, whether such regulation should be neutral and who should assume the task of regulating the online environment. Students taking the module will be expected to develop knowledge and understanding of the different values and interests brought to bear in the regulation of information technologies and communities.

Armed with this theoretical background, students will then be asked to consider how these values are reflected in the regulatory design of the online environment. This examination will be conducted by considering a number of case studies relating to online privacy, defamation, criminal activity and market power. The module concludes by examining the topical and politically charged question of whether Internet Service Providers should be allowed to vary service conditions by types of content.

Lecturer: Professor Andrew Murray

Module Code: LL449E


Session: 27 April-1 May 2020

Take-Home Exam Date: Friday 10 July 2020 - Sunday 12 July  2020

Media Law: Regulating Publication

The module examines the legal and administrative regulation of mass media publication (principally the press, the broadcast media, and institutionalised Internet publication). The module is introduced with consideration of a number of themes that underpin the rest of the syllabus: the role(s) of the media in society (including conceptions of the 'public interest'); the main social, technological and regulatory influences that shape media publication practise, and rights jurisprudence (in particular, the freedom of expression and freedom of the press in national and international law). The module then examines potential restrictions on publication that are aimed at promoting or preserving specific private and/or public interests. The key private interests considered are those in reputation (defamation), privacy, and confidentiality. The key public interests considered are the integrity of the judicial process (contempt and reporting restrictions), the impartiality of political representations, the avoidance of offence (obscenity and religion), national security, and the protection of children.

Lecturer: Dr Andrew Scott

Module Code: LL423E

Theories of Human and Constitutional Rights

The module will provide an introduction to theories of human and constitutional rights. The emphasis is on a combination of law and theory; to this end, each session will rely on a mixture of cases from various jurisdictions and theoretical and philosophical materials. Topics to be discussed will include: Robert Alexy’s Theory of Rights as Principles; Ronald Dworkin's Theory of Rights as Trumps; The Debate about Proportionality; Absolute Rights; The Debate about Judicial Review; The Culture of Justification and the Right to Justification.

Lecturer: Dr Kai Möller

Module Code: LL426E

International Law and Climate Change

This module covers the international law dealing with climate change with a view to assessing how risks and uncertainties caused by climate change are governed and allocated in different legal regimes. The module adopts the stance that the political and legal questions raised by climate change cannot be addressed by reference to climate change law (or indeed international environmental law) alone. Climate change gives rise to a series of profound problems touching upon a range of bodies of law (international economic law, human rights law, state responsibility, international migration law) in a complex political and ethical environment. In approaching climate change as a concrete concern relevant to these various bodies of law and practice, the module will address the normative and/or ethical bases for choosing between actions designed to prevent and/or manage climate change and its consequences, attentive to developmental imperatives and the theoretical concerns raised by the 'fragmented' nature of international law.

Lecturer: Dr Stephen Humphreys

Module Code: LL420E


Further teaching session dates for 2020 are as follows:

7-11 September 2020
14-18 December 2020

Course offerings will be published once they are confirmed.