LL450E      Half Unit
Banking and Finance Law: Regulating Retail, Consumer, and SME Markets

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joseph Spooner


This course is available on the Executive LLM. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

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:


This is an intensive module, which will be delivered through interactive seminars. The module will provide between 24 and 26 hours of contact teaching time. Students will be provided with online and hard copy materials for the module well in advance of the intensive teaching. The teaching will take place in week-long sessions, running from Monday to Friday.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

Formative assessments are set by teachers during the course and students will be given a submission date of approximately one month from the end of the teaching session. Feedback will be provided within two weeks following submission, either on Moodle or via email. The word limit for formative essays is 2000 words.

Indicative reading




Why Regulate of Consumer and SME Financial Markets?

Complexity in Financial Products: Contract-as-Product

Consumers, SMEs, and Financial Stability: Prudential Perspectives

Sample Reading:


Assessment path 1
Take-home assessment (100%).

Assessment path 2
Essay (100%, 8000 words).

Students will be examined through a combination of an (8,000 word) assessed long essay (which may take the form of a policy paper) or take-home examination (6,000 words). The take-home examination will be uploaded and submitted electronically, and will be set two months after the completion of the intensive teaching. Video revision/question-and-answer sessions will be offered to students between the end of the teaching session and the exam.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills