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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Monetary Law (LAWS10203)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryMoney is an all-pervasive legal concept, and an integral part of public dealings by the state and most private transactions. It tends, however, to be poorly understood by lawyers, who often assume that money is a "given", the meaning and operation of which is determined by economists, with the law having very little part to play. This course seeks to dispel that impression.

The course aims to develop a distinctive understanding of the legal institution of money, seen from private-law and legal-historical perspectives. Although drawing on historical and economic sources, it emphasises the distinctness of legal conceptions of money from those applied in other related academic disciplines. It draws on source material from civil law and common law jurisdictions.

By a course of guided reading and seminar participation, students will become familiar with the public and private law regulation of: monetary issue and creation; the payment and discharge of monetary obligations; the analysis of money as a species of property; the enforcement of currency judgments; and legal responses to new monetary developments such as cyber-currencies.
Course description Students will learn how the formation of monetary law follows from a long historical interaction between legal doctrines and innovations by commercial and financial actors in creating new kinds of payment media. Students will be expected to read independently and across a wide range of source materials to form their own views about the meaning of monetary legal doctrines in the context of other disciplines which influence its development.

The outline content of the course will be as follows:
- The legal institution of money, as related to and distinct from economic conceptions of money.
- The sovereign power of the state in the issue of legal tender money, and the legal relationships between state-issued currencies and privately-created money.
- A legal history of the UK monetary system, including an historical analysis of obligations for the payment of money in Scots law and common law.
- Money as a species of private property, including the treatment of money as fungible property, and of mixtures of money.
- The legal effect of payments of money, and proprietary effect of money transfers.
- Contemporary innovations in the use of money, especially in the development of cyber-currencies.
- The enforcement of currency judgments in private law.

Student learning experience:
The course will be taught by a series of 10 2-hour seminars, for which students will be provided with in advance with reading lists, and questions to guide their development of ideas. Active participation in seminar discussions will be encouraged. The course will emphasise the connection of ideas across a range of legal doctrinal and non-legal reading sources.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional space.

Students should have a background in the Law of Obligations and Property.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed by 2 essays, one due in the middle of the course (30%), the other due at the end of the course (70%).
Feedback The first essay will be formative as well as summative. Feedback will be provided to the students after the first essay, which has a much lighter weighting in overall assessment, but also with an element of feed-forward to assist in preparation of the second.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand money as a distinctive legal concept which is separate from, but informed by, other disciplines and commercial practices
  2. Work with the variety of doctrinal analyses of money and payment seen across civil law, common law and mixed legal systems
  3. Apply their knowledge of legal doctrines to newly emerging forms of money
  4. Employ skills of spoken and written communication, particularly in the formation of abstract legal concepts
  5. Independently read and analyse across inter-disciplinary source materials, and then consturct a shared understanding by participation in discussion
Reading List
Indicative reading list of main secondary sources:

M Collins, Money and Banking in the UK: a History (1988)
C Desan, Making Money, Coin, Currency and the Coming of Capitalism (2014)
D Fox, Property Rights in Money (2008)
D Fox and W Ernst, Money in the Western Legal Tradition (2016)
M Howard et al, Foreign Currency, Claims, Judgments and Damages (2016)
N Mayhew, Sterling: The History of a Currency (1999)
F A Mann, The Legal Aspect of Money (1st and 7th eds)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop the skills of working independently in the critical analysis of legal and non-legal source materials. They will gain experience in establishing the relevance of non-legal academic disciplines to understanding the formation and content of primary legal doctrines on money. Clarity of written and spoken expression of abstract concepts will be an essential attribute to successful participation in the course. By interactive discussion, they will learn the value of shared dialogue to the formation and refinement of their thinking.
KeywordsMonetary law,money,private law,currency,cyber currency
Course organiserDr David Fox
Tel: (0131 6)50 2054
Course secretaryMiss Susie Morgan
Tel: (0131 6)50 2339
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