LL4H4      Half Unit
International Financial Law

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Philipp Paech


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

The law of the traditional financial market sectors of insurance, commercial banking, derivatives, capital markets and asset management are converging in practice, but their academic analysis is still largely sector-based. The main goal of this course is to offer a cross-sectoral, functional understanding of the commercial, property and insolvency law of finance, permitting students to grasp the big picture and apply acquired understanding to very diverse legal constellations in finance. The course also highlights certain anomalies in differing legal treatment of the respective sectors or certain types of transactions that induce regulatory arbitrage, Further, students will acquire the ability to identify and put into context key trends in finance.

The course provides an overview of the substantive law aspects (UK, EU and international) of international financial and business transactions. The focus is mainly on broad principles and policy issues rather than a detailed examination of statute, case law and drafting. However, where appropriate, legal concepts and market practice will be explained by reference to case law and other legal sources. The course is designed to be as topical as possible, and the content may change in the light of developments. While the precise topics covered will vary from year to year they typically will include the following:

- Introduction:

Logic and players of the financial market

Overview of types of financial transactions

Reasoning and sources of financial law and regulation

The different types of risk and the role of financial law

European and global legal and regulatory architecture


- Raising capital:

Taking risk through funded positions

The nature of banks, deposit taking, loans, syndicated loans

Issuance of debt securities, eurobonds and equity

Investment funds

Cross-comparison of funded positions, common patterns and differences


- Mitigating risk:

Simple financial positions (guarantee, insurance, derivatives and credit default swaps)

Close out netting, clearing

Financial collateral


- Insolvency policy:

Preferential treatment of financial firms


- Cross-jurisdictional analysis:

Private international law analysis in financial law

International bank insolvencies


- Specific constellations:

Intermediated securities and cross-border collateral


Crypto assets, blockchain and other FinTech-related issues


This course will have two hours of teaching content each week in Michaelmas 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 Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be asked to submit a 2,000 word essay during LT. A voluntary mock exam is also offered.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be made available on Moodle prior to teaching.

Recommended general reading: (a) Joanna Benjamin, Financial Law, Oxford University Press, 2007; (b) Colin Bamford, Principles of International Financial Law, Oxford University Press, 2011; (c) Philip Wood, Law and Practice of International Finance (University Edition) 2007, Sweet&Maxwell; (d) S. Valdez, Ph. Molyneux, An Introduction to Global Financial Markets, 6th ed., Palgrave-McMillan, 2010 (this last one is not a legal work but ideal for understanding market practice).


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

Assessment is by closed book written examination. The exam is two hours plus 15 minutes reading time.

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: 63

Average class size 2020/21: 11

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills