Skip to main content

Unit information: Banking Law in 2016/17

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


Banking Law has traditionally involved studying the legal relationships between banks and their customers, which rests on well-established rules of common law and statutory provisions. This unit will assess the traditional law, including banker-customer relationships, methods of payment, developments in duties of care, and constructive trusts. However, as the financial world has been so volatile during recent years, Banking Law has evolved considerably. The unit will explore bank regulation in detail, examine the underlying rationale for regulation and supervision, and critically analyse the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the UK bank regulatory regime, considering the Northern Rock crisis and the significant changes introduced following the financial crisis. The new focus on banking culture and standards will be addressed on this course, as well as the impact of the technological evolution on payment methods and banking practices.

This unit is principally concerned with domestic banking law in the United Kingdom, however aspects are clearly relevant to law and practice in other countries.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, a successful student will be able:

  • To explain the importance of banking regulation and identify the various sources of banking law
  • To discuss the objectives of banking regulation
  • To analyse the legal and regulatory environment relevant to banking institutions and their customers
  • To evaluate and critically assess current issues and debates in the development and operation of banking law and regulation

Students should be able to accurately state the applicable law, develop their own perspectives on the issues addressed on the Banking Law unit and identify the key aspects of the regime.

Teaching details

This unit is taught by way of 20 lectures (approx.), 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions. Lectures are delivered jointly to students on the related undergraduate unit.

Assessment Details

Summative: a 2000 word essay (33%) will assess the candidate's ability to research a topic within the scope of this unit. The remaining Intended Learning Outcomes will be assessed in a 3 hour written examination (67%). Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

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: