The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

New LL.M in International Banking and Finance Law


In the wake of the recent economic crises, attention has been focused on the role of banks and financial institutions with regard to ineffective risk management practices, uneconomical or unfair lending policies, breach of fair dealing norms and generous executive bonus schemes, to name only a few of the underlying causative factors. Last week in the United Kingdom, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the appointment of a committee to inquire into banking standards. A week prior to that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) imposed a hefty fine of 59.5 million sterling pounds on Barclays Bank PLC for misconduct relating to the London and EURO Interbank Offered Rate. This is the largest ever fine imposed by the FSA.

The FSA report on the Royal Bank of Scotland in relation to the acquisition of ABN AMRO-  an acquisition subsequently described by the Bank as reflecting “the wrong price, the wrong way to pay, at the wrong time and the wrong deal”- recommended the introduction of changes to the law to impose strict liability on directors and senior management for negligent conduct. Similarly, even in other parts of the world, the role of regulators, banks and financial institutions have come under close public scrutiny with urgent calls for major reforms. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision updated in June 2012 its guidance text released in 2001 for assessing the effectiveness of the internal audit function in banks. It incorporates lessons drawn from the recent financial crises.

In the academic world, postgraduate studies in banking law are not new. Specialized LL.M. programmes have been offered for many decades by universities in developed economies and by others in relatively recent times. The Ealing Law School of the University of West London offers a LL.M. programme on International Banking and Finance Law. The University was recently ranked by The Guardian as the No. 1 Modern Law School in London.

The LL.M. in International Banking and Finance Law is structured around four major modules, namely
International Banking Law
Securities Regulations
International Commercial Law
International Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Law

Lectures on Research Methodology will lead towards the development of a dissertation guided by local and foreign tutors.
The module on Banking Law will have as its primary focus the regulatory framework relating to the UK banking system; however, this will be considered in the perspective of European and US regulations and Basel Committee standards and guidance texts. Banks and their customers; banks as a monetary agency; and banks as a lender and as a borrower will be some of the aspects that would be covered over 60 hours of lectures. Electronic Fund Transfers, syndicated loans, deposit guarantee schemes, anti money laundering requirements etc. will be examined in depth.

Lectures and inter-active workshops will be conducted by both visiting UWL Faculty as well by leading academics and industry practitioners. An unusual feature of the programme offered locally by ANC and UWL over a 12 month period leading to the award on an internal LL.M. degree of the UWL is that optional lectures will be provided on Sri Lankan perspectives. Authorities in banking law such as Dr Wickrema Weerasooria will deliver guest lectures with a focus on theoretical and practical aspects relevant to Sri Lankan lawyers and other professionals.

For teaching and reference purposes, UWL uses the ‘Blackboard’ which is a market-leading Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) software used in higher education globally. All University courses and modules are automatically created in the VLE.

Students will have access to programme resources and key information whenever they need them from anywhere with a web connection, including mobile devices, at any time convenient to them to complement what is provided in the class. Written assignments can be submitted with the facility to obtain on-line feedback. The ‘Blackboard’ facilitates communications between students-staff and student-to-student. This will be a great tool to be used by busy lawyers and practitioners.

For more information call 0777 449966. The UWL has been running this particular LL.M. programme in London since 2008. Those who have successfully completed the LL.M. programme can embark on a career in the global economy with multinational corporations, investment banks, international law and audit firms, international fund management firms or as international consultants.

Practising lawyers will have a competitive advantage as a result of their exposure to current international legal, regulatory and case law developments. The UWL-ANC partnership now enables the LL.M. programme to be completed here in Colombo without the necessity to spend time overseas.  -  Dr Dayanath Jayasuriya P.C.

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