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Unit information: Banking Conduct and Law in 2018/19

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Unit name Banking Conduct and Law
Unit code LAWDM0144
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 Conduct and Law focuses on the legal issues that arise for banks in the course of engaging with their customers. It has traditionally involved studying the legal relationships that arise between banks and their customers, which rest on well-established rules of common law and statutory provisions. The evolution of the banking sector and changes to banking practice have, however, impacted the development of the law in this area. Increasingly, rules and regulations overlay the scope of the common law provisions that apply in the banker-customer context. The increase in financial crime has led to a plethora of rules that affect how banks treat their customers. Recent changes in terms of technology and innovation in the banking sector are providing new, alternative ways for consumers to access banking services. This unit will enable students to understand the historical development of the law in this area whilst also allowing students to engage with new developments and current debates in the field of banking law and banking conduct.

Topics covered will include:

  • Introduction to the regulatory structure
  • Consumer protection: the Financial Ombudsman Service and the role of the Competition and Markets Authority
  • The banker-customer relationship
  • Payment systems, payment cards and their misuse
  • Technology and innovation – FinTech
  • Duties of care
  • Confidentiality
  • Money Laundering
  • Lending practices and responsible lending

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the role of law and regulation in the oversight of bank conduct and the banker-customer relationship.
  2. Describe and critically analyse the relevant legal rules and principles that impact how banks engage with their customers, demonstrating an understanding of the application of principles of contract, tort and restitution in relation to banking.
  3. Critically assess the development of the relevant law and regulation in light of the historical context and the current challenges that banks and their customers face.
  4. Engage with contemporary debates and issues that affect bank conduct, bringing together materials from case law, statutes and banking industry sources.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to conduct independent research and present a coherent, reasoned argument on a variety of topics relating to banking conduct and law.

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 (ILO 1 to 5) 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

Textbook details will be released in due course.

For an example of the type of texts referred to on this unit, please see:

See generally:

Students also might find it interesting to listen to one or two of the Podcast episodes of ‘FinTech Insider’, covering the impact of technological innovation on the banking and financial services sector.