Principles of Banking Law

Principles of Banking Law

Principles of Banking Law

Principles of Banking Law


This book addresses the legal issues brought about by modern banking law. It sets out the legal rules within the context of modern banking practice and concentrates on principle rather than detail.


This book offers a new framework for banking law. It takes as a given the modern world of the multifunctional bank, with international operations. Existing books on banking law are generally rooted in domestic retail banking: they focus on matters such as the banker-customer relationship, bank accounts, retail payments (mainly by cheque) and bank securities. If it is dealt with, bank financing is assumed to be by means of overdraft. Excellent though some of these books may be, they paint only part of the picture. Those wanting to see the whole canvas must go to specialist books on subjects ranging from bank regulation, through corporate securities to international finance. This book tries to bring the bulk of legal matters relating to banking activity within the four corners of the picture.

As well as offering a new framework for the subject, this book places many matters in a different perspective. Some are moved from the foreground and put in their proper place. Cheques, for example, which occupy substantial chunks of the existing books, are seen as just one of a number of payment methods (indeed, as a payment method of declining importance). The accumulated mass of learning on cheques is no excuse for magnifying their true importance. Conversely, other matters are moved out from the shadows such as bank organization (and reorganization), the relationships between banks, and bank liability. Payment systems, bank financing, and the securities activities of banks are especially highlighted. Matters which are rarely, if ever, covered, even in the specialist literature, are given a place. Central banking law and the legal dimensions of international banking are examples.

The book also challenges the conventional view on some matters, bank confidentiality and bank liability being examples. Too often it has been assumed that there are special rules governing such matters. That view is rejected and the issues are examined in the light of the relevant principles from the general law. Indeed, an underlying theme of the book is that there is nothing special about banking law; rather it is the application of ordinary principles of law to one area of commercial activity.

Finally, the book seeks to convey something of the excitement and importance of the subject-matter. This is not just a world of individuals opening banking accounts, writing cheques and being granted overdrafts. It is a world of powerful financial institutions, many with a significant international reach, which mobilise and move capital world-wide, which sell and securitise their assets, and which deal on international . . .

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