Skip to main content

Unit information: Banking Law in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Banking Law
Unit code LAWDM0005
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Miss. Powley
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Banking law has traditionally involved studying the legal relationship between banks and their customers, which rests on well-established rules of common law and statutory provisions. The financial world has been so volatile during recent years, however, that the unit has changed considerably. Although the traditional law, including the banker-customer relationships and methods of payment, is still considered in depth, the student is introduced to bank regulation (both domestically and in the EU), is expected to consider modern developments in duties of care and constructive trusts, and the revolution in technology on the law and practice of banking. The course includes study of developments such as the introduction of the ‘twin peaks’ model of banking regulation, and the work of the Financial Ombudsman. The student will be expected to study aspects of consumer protection for bank customers and engage with the discussion surrounding the topic of money laundering.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The unit is principally concerned with domestic banking law in the United Kingdom. It studies the legal relationships between banks and their customers. These relationships rest on well established rules of common law and statutory provisions.

Protecting the interests of consumers in their dealings with banks forms an important part of this course. As such, the standards set by the FCA handbook, the work of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Competition and Markets Authority are assessed. In addition, students will study the current discussions about financial stability and bank regulation, money laundering and methods of safeguarding banks and customers from fraud.

These aspects of the course primarily concentrate on law and practice in the United Kingdom, but are clearly relevant to law and practice in other countries. Banking law traditionally involves studying the legal relationships between banks and their customers, which rest on established rules of common law and statutory provisions. The financial world has been so volatile during recent years, however, that the structure of any course in banking has had to change considerably to adapt. Traditional banking law is still considered in depth, while newer methods like plastic cards and internet banking and payment are also discussed.

We will explore bank regulation in detail including an examination of the underlying rational for regulatory and supervisory framework, the controversies surrounding the existence of bank regulation and the forces driving their evolution. This will be followed by a critical examination of the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the UK bank regulatory regime (including Northern Rock crisis), and the significant changes introduced by the Financial Services Act 2012 based on the HM Treasury White Paper: A new approach to financial regulation: the blueprint for reform (2011) Cm 8083, and aimed at strengthening bank regulation. This will also involve examining the reform proposals of the Independent Commission on Banking (2011), ), the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (2013) and the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013. We will also examine aspects of EU Bank Regulation (including harmonisation of banking regulation, the Single Supervisory Mechanism and the role of the European Banking Authority).

The effect of the revolution in technology and communications on payment methods and the law and practice of banking will also be considered.

Teaching Information

10 seminars plus attendance at lectures

Assessment Information

Summative - 3 hour exam (100%). The assessment will assess all the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit.

Formative - Students should do one piece of formative assessment and may do two.

Reading and References

  • Ellinger, Modern Banking Law (5th edition, 2011)
  • Hudson, The Law of Finance (2nd Edition 2013)
  • Berger, Molyneux and Wilson The Oxford Handbook of Banking, (2010)
  • Roberts, Law Relating to Financial Services (7th edition 2009) very useful on banking, rather than banking law.
  • Goode - Commercial Law (There are helpful chapters are very good on payment )
  • Cranston - Principles of Banking Law (2nd Edition 2002). A new edition is promised.
  • Paget's Law of Banking - the leading practitioner's book (13th edition, 2007)
  • ODonovan, Lender Liability (2005)
  • Creswell, Blair, Hill and Wood - Encyclopaedia of Banking Law

The Commercial Law Statute books contain most of the statutes. There is also the Butterworths Banking Law Handbook, but it is very expensive.

House of Commons Treasury Committee, The run on the Rock (2008)

HM Treasury White Paper, A new approach to financial services regulation: the blueprint for reform (2011) Cm 8083

Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, Changing Banking for Good (2013)

Report of the Committee on Banking Services Law and Practice (The Jack Committee) 1989 Cm 622 (now only of historical interest)

Financial Conduct Authority:

Bank of England:

Financial Ombudsman Service: