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Derivatives Law

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

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