LL4BL      Half Unit
Financial Crime

This information is for the 2021/22 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 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 has a limited number of places and we cannot guarantee all students will get a place.

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 and concluding 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 also 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 will have two hours of teaching content each week in Lent Term, either in the form of a two hour seminar or an online lecture and one hour class. There will be 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.


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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 29

Average class size 2020/21: 15

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills