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Derivatives Law


This course is an immensely practical course but also raises some very interesting theoretical questions about the way in which derivatives markets function and how the law and regulations should interact with them. This course will teach you things that it’s very difficult to learn anywhere else. Thinking about the way derivatives markets have functioned since the 1990’s, this course examines what has always been a secret knowledge that only financial market and financial law practitioners have understood. The purpose of this course is to teach you what derivatives are from a legal perspective and to show you how that documentation works and how the law and derivatives interact.

Module A: Analysing and documenting derivatives transactions


  • The nature of financial derivatives
  • The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) Master Agreement structure
  • The provisions of the ISDA master agreement.

Module B: Terminating derivatives transactions


  • The ISDA termination scheme in outline
  • Events of default
  • Termination events
  • The ISDA termination procedure

Module C: Legal issues in taking security, collateralisation and the local authority swaps


  • Taking security under English law
  • Collateralisation in general terms
  • Standard market documentation for collateral
  • Lessons from the local authority swaps cases
  • Issues in the creation of financial derivatives.

Module D: The regulation of derivatives, credit derivatives and securitisation


  • Credit derivatives
  • Securitisation
  • Stock-lending and repo transactions
  • Derivatives and the financial crisis
  • Imposing liability on financial institutions for mis-selling derivatives after the financial crisis.


Each module is assessed by a 45-minute unseen written exam.


It is strongly recommended that you attempt the modules in order.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (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
  •  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."