Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module LAW54015: Commercial Fraud

Department: Law

LAW54015: Commercial Fraud

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2020/21 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop a thorough knowledge and understanding of the law of fraud as it pertains to commercial transactions, with a focus on bribery and corruption as a case study of fraudulent activity affecting commercial transactions.
  • To develop a through knowledge of the law relating to money laundering both in terms of the criminal law and in terms of asset recovery.
  • To develop a basic understanding of the impact and effect of human rights provisions upon money laudering law.
  • To develop a sound knowledge of English legal rules which respond to fraud in the commercial context.
  • To develop an appreciation of the position of the victim of fraud and an understanding of the remedies available to them.
  • To develop the ability to distinguish between personal and proprietary actions available both to private victims and the State.


  • An examination of the law of fraud as it pertains to commercial transactions, using bribery and corruption as a case study;
  • An examination and analysis of European Money Laundering Regulations and the relevant English statutory provisions relevant to money laundering;
  • An examination of following and recovering misappropriated property or tracing value into substitute assets such as proceeds of sale;
  • An examination of the personal liability at law and in equity of the primary fraudster, those who have received misappropriated property and accessories.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • The laws, treaties and directives pertaining to fraud, bribery and corruption, as well as to transparency in commercial dealings.
  • The laws, treaties and directives governing money laundering;
  • The relevant principles drawn from English statutes, common law and equity with respect ot asset recovery.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to identify and analyze relevant principles which are concerned with tackling fraudulent activity.
  • The ability to explain how these principles would apply in practice.
  • The ability to identify and discuss policy issues which operate in this area.
  • The development of a critical awareness of current challenges in this area.
  • The ability to produce individual research in this area dn to consider alternative strategies for combatting fraudulen activity.
Key Skills:
  • Understand the complex materials.
  • Ability to describe accurately and comprehensibly the arguments and analysis of other commentators.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Through an in-depth knowledge of domestic, European and international efforts to prevent money laundering and English civil law rememdies concerning recovery of fraudulently obtained property, compensation and stripping of profits.
  • By allowing students to develop a critical understanding of relevant policy issues.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 Weekly 2 16
Preparation and Reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Short essay. Word length is 1500 words, including footnotes and excluding bibliography.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University