LL4F2      Half Unit
The Law and Practice of International Finance

This information is for the 2023/24 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 demand is typically high. This may mean that you’re not able to get a place on this course.

Course content

LL4F2 examines legal issues which arise in the international financial markets based in London. This course looks at the legal aspects of financial contracts, transactions and structures which are widely used in the financial markets, such with a focus on as ‘over the counter’ (OTC) derivatives and debt finance, in particular, syndicated loans. We make close reference to key terms in widely-used financial contracts and 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, and we consider in-depth various types of disputes that arise from financial contracts, in particular, in periods of widespread market stress. The course is based upon an analysis of the relevant issues under English law with some reference to other legal systems for comparative purposes. 

The course will be underpinned by in-depth 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 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 away from LIBOR to so-called ‘risk-free rates’).


Two hours of teaching content each week in Winter Term and a two hour revision class in the Spring Term. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Winter 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 spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: 46

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills