LL4BL      Half Unit
Financial Crime

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jonathan Fisher KC


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Accounting and Finance, MSc in Regulation 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

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 considers 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 examines 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 malpractices such as manipulating the financial markets, short selling and reckless risk taking.

The course is bracketed by introductory and concluding sessions. 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 session also addresses the perceived ambivalence to the prosecution of financial crime cases, the limitations on public authorities to fight financial crime, the role of public / private partnerships 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 Autumn (first) Term. Corporate Crime is not a pre-requisite for this course.


This course will be taught in the Lent Term, in the form of a one hour lecture in person and a one-hour seminar class.

Week 6 is a reading week. There are two revision sessions in the summer term.

Formative coursework

One 1,500 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, 2007, Oxford University Press; Alldridge: Money Laundering Law: Forfeiture, Confiscation, Civil Recovery, Criminal Laundering and Taxation of the Proceeds of Crime, 2003, Hart Publishing;  Ryder: Financial Crime in the 21st Century, Law and Policy, 2012, Edward Elgar.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes) in the spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2023/24: 46

Average class size 2023/24: 12

Controlled access 2023/24: No

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