This module aims to build on students' knowledge in contract and company law by examining the law and context of international finance. Beginning with a critical examination of the central normative role of debt and money in society, we will examine the historical transition from usury to finance to advanced financial capitalism.
Preparing the ground for a focus on the Global Financial Crisis, students will apply their contractual and company law knowledge to real debt financing structures (such as credit facilities, syndications, securitizations) and by grappling with the detail of such transactions learn how legal 'innovation' can be an agent of crisis.
The module will emphasise that the key to understanding finance law is to see how its development is an instrumental part of the capitalist process and that to understand financial structures requires an appreciation of underlying capital flows, with its eddies, bubbles and catastrophes. And when these catastrophes occur, social costs are disbursed according to a morality of debt (law's symbolic function).
Accordingly, the module will engage in a critically informed examination of real financial transactions to grant students a breathtaking perspective on the power of capital from its capillaries in the homes of the subprime mortgagors to the heart of the money markets. Students will appreciate how financial law is anything but a niche subject; rather it is, and has been since the first cities, immanent to social relations.
By giving students a grounding in applied contract and company law, and so an understanding of financial instruments and structures, students will have both (i) a perfect and timely complement to both the module Financial Services Regulation and the equity finance element of Law of Business Organisations; and (ii) the perfect bridge to the Law School's PG offering in ICGFR and IEL.