LL4F2      Half Unit
The Law and Practice of International Finance

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Jo Braithwaite


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) 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 has a limited number of places and we cannot guarantee all students will get a place.

Course content

LL4F2 examines legal issues which arise in the international financial markets based in London. This course looks at various types of financial contracts, transactions and structures which are widely used in the financial markets, such as ‘over the counter’ (OTC) derivatives and syndicated loans. We make close reference to certain sets of trade association drafted terms throughout the course, subject to obtaining the necessary licences from the trade associations in question. With an emphasis on private law, the course considers the relevant legal, commercial and regulatory background, and the risks and protections available to participants in the global financial markets. For example, we look in detail at contractual credit risk mitigation and default management processes including close-out. The course is based upon an analysis of the relevant issues under English law with some reference to other systems for comparative purposes.

The course will be underpinned by discussion of the legal principles involved in international finance, but the case studies referenced will be topical. In this sense, the content of the course will be adapted to the fast-moving developments affecting international markets in capital and in risk (for example, in recent sessions the course has examined mis-selling litigation in the international derivatives markets, the legal basis of prime brokerage relationships, the ongoing regulatory reform of the OTC derivatives markets, CCP clearing, the debate about recovery and resolution of CCPs and CCP location policy, and the worldwide project of benchmark transition).


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

Students will be asked to submit one essay, which may be completed in exam conditions. The course also involves individual and group presentations and other classwork.

Indicative reading

Examples of texts which will be referenced on the course: J. Braithwaite, The Financial Courts: Adjudicating Disputes in Derivatives Markets (CUP, 2020); and L Gullifer and J Payne, Corporate Finance Law: Principles and Policy (Hart, 3rd edition, 2020). A full reading list will be distributed via Moodle.


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

Assessment is by closed book written examination. 

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: 38

Average class size 2020/21: 9

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills