LL4BL      Half Unit
Financial Crime

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Mr Jonathan Fisher


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Accounting and Finance, MSc in Criminal Justice Policy, MSc in Regulation, MSc in Risk and Finance and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms: Banking Law and Financial Regulation Corporate and/or Commercial Law Corporate and Securities Law Criminology and Criminal Justice International Business Law.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.

Course content

This course focuses on financial crime committed within the commercial and business environment and explores current perspectives in the detection, investigation and prosecution of these cases.

The first part of the course explores the emergence of anti-money laundering regimes, through criminal offences and regulatory compliance, as the primary response to financial crime. In addition, the course examines models for confiscation of criminally obtained property following conviction and frameworks for non-conviction-based confiscation and taxation in the civil courts. The case for illicit enrichment offences and use of special investigation tools such as unexplained wealth orders and compulsory interrogation powers in the detection of financial crime is explored. The course addresses the compatibility of these initiatives with protections on due process and the rights to privacy and property set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and other international instruments.

The second part of the course explores the engagement between financial crime and the global financial markets, with a close focus on offences such as insider dealing, misleading the financial markets and false accounting.  The challenges of detection and enforcement are discussed, and the contribution of financial crime to the global financial crisis in 2008 is studied. In addition, the course explores the potential criminality of other market practices such as manipulating the financial markets, short selling and reckless risk taking.

The course is bracketed by two introductory sessions which examine the taxonomy of financial crime. The first session explores the nature and extent of financial crime, the relationship between organised crime groups and financial crime, and the social and economic impact of financial crime. The second session addresses the perceived ambivalence to the prosecution of financial crime cases, the limitations on public authorities to fight financial crime, and the rise of private prosecutions.

The course concludes with a session on the principles of sentencing in financial crime cases and an examination of alternatives to the imposition of lengthy custodial sentences.

There is no overlap between this course and the course on Corporate Crime in the Michaelmas (first) Term. Corporate Crime is not a pre-requisite for this course.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours in Lent Term. Students will usually have two additional hours in the Summer Term. This year teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

One 2,000-word essay.

Indicative reading

Reading is prescribed for each lecture and seminar. There are no core textbooks available for the course; however, all the reading material is available from resources easily accessible through LSE Moodle, LSE Electronic Library and the internet. Preliminary reading is not required but for an understanding of the areas covered in the course students may read Green: Lying, Cheating and Stealing: A Moral Theory of White Collar Crime, 2005, Oxford University Press; Ryder: Financial Crime in the 21st Century, Law and Policy, 2011, Edward Elgar; Edelbacher, Kratcoski, Theil: Financial Crimes, A Threat to Global Security, 2012, CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills