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Private law aspects of the law of finance


The idea of this course is to pull together some of the most significant aspects of private law that relate to finance. This course essentially covers the law of finance in the sense that this is the law that is practiced by finance law practitioners. The course covers the key concepts of contract law, fiduciary law and many equity and trust law principles and asks whether or not we can synthesize them with the private regulatory standards that currently exist to develop a more specific law of finance.

Module A: Fiduciary liability in finance


  • The basis of financial regulation in the United Kingdom
  • The nature of fiduciary liability
  • The significance of fiduciary liability in financial transactions
  • Liability in relation to conflicts of interest and firm’s profits
  • Conduct of business regulation
  • Standards of “integrity” in regulation and fiduciary liabilities of “good conscience”

Module B: Stranger liability in finance


  • The nature of stranger liability
  • Liability for dishonest assistance in a breach of fiduciary duty
  • Liability for knowing receipt of property resulting from a breach of fiduciary duty
  • Attribution of knowledge and dishonesty of traders to financial institutions
  • Taking objective notions of honesty, knowledge, etc., from regulation
  • Case law on reasonable commercial behaviour and stranger liability

Module C: Issues in the creation of financial contracts


  • Case law on mistake in the creation of complex financial contracts
  • The use of master agreement structures in many financial markets
  • Conditions and warranties in standard market contracts
  • Exclusion of liability

Module D: Suitable conduct and unconscionable conduct in financial transactions


  • Undue influence in financial transactions
  • Appropriate treatment of clients in forming contracts under conduct of business regulation
  • Misrepresentation in financial transactions
  • Unfair contract terms.


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you complete Module A first.

How to apply

You can either apply for these modules individually or as part of the Postgraduate Laws programme. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Banking and Finance Law
  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Common Law
  • Corporate and Securities Law
  • Equity and Trusts
  • Financial Services Law
  • International Business Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Academic Co-ordinator

Professor Alastair Hudson

Professor Alastair Hudson

Professor Alastair Hudson FHEA, FRSA, is the Course Convenor for: Commercial Trusts Law, Securities Law, Equity and Trust in Context, International and Comparative Trusts Law, Law on Investment Entities, Private Aspects of the Law and Finance and Law of Financial Crime.

Alastair is an English barrister and academic. He was Professor of Equity & Law at Queen Mary University of London for fourteen years. Between 2012 and 2014, he was Professor of Equity and Finance Law at The University of Southampton. He is a National Teaching Fellow, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was voted UK Law Teacher of the Year in 2008 and was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award 2014 by the University of Southampton for "Overall Outstanding Lecturer."