Major role in updating banking law tome

17 November 2011


A newly revised standard text on banking law owes much to the considerable labours of Chris Hare, a senior lecturer at the Auckland Law School.

He was responsible for 14 out of 22 chapters of the fifth edition of Ellinger’s Modern Banking Law, amounting to about 700 pages of the text’s 984 pages.

The book covers all aspects of banking law, apart from such international banking transactions as letters of credit and performance bonds.

The previous edition was published in 2005. The latest edition has more coverage of banking regulation, a greater focus on money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and brand new material on internet banking.

Published by Oxford University Press, it is the standard and leading student text in the UK as well as being used extensively in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Canada. Commercial law practitioners use it as a reference text in banking disputes and it has been referred to by the courts.

Chris’s chapters cover the definition of a “bank”, the banker-customer relationship, current, deposit and special accounts, cheques and bills of exchange, electronic money, recovery of mistaken payments and loans and overdrafts.

Some chapters simply needed updating (such as the chapter on recovery of mistaken payments), other chapters had sections that needed rewriting or restructuring in light of developments (such as those dealing with the banker-customer relationship and the current account) and some chapters were totally overhauled (such as those on special accounts and incidental services).

“It was a very heavy commitment,” he says. “As well as discussing case law developments in the prior five to six years, there were some significant legislative changes, in particular the enactment of the Payment Services Regulations 2009, which overhaul huge swathes of banking law in the UK. I also made a concerted attempt to improve the comparative elements of the text, which involved chasing up aspects of Australian, Singaporean, Hong Kong, Canadian and Malaysian banking law. This made the task particularly onerous.”

Chris’s co-editors were Peter Ellinger (Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore) and Eva Lomnicka (Professor of Law at King’s College, London). At the start of the project Chris met with them to discuss the general direction they would take with the text — and to get acquainted.

“Beyond the initial meetings, we were able to read each other’s work and exchange ideas entirely by email. Nowadays, co-authorship does not require any degree of geographical proximity.”

Chris’s contribution arose out of his association and (now) friendship with Professor Richard Hooley of King’s College, London and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Richard was one of the three authors for the third and fourth editions of Ellinger’s Modern Banking Law.

“We have known each other since 1994, when he was my supervisor for the Company Law and Commercial Law papers when I was an undergraduate in Cambridge. When Richard decided to step down as author of Modern Banking Law he suggested that I take over responsibility for his chapters. As Peter Ellinger was also looking to step down, I also took responsibility for his chapters.”

In highlighting the flaws in the current regulatory regime and suggesting alternative mechanisms for controlling bank behaviour the book is “particularly important in the current environment”, says Chris. “It also plays tries to rebalance the anti-bank sentiment that has developed in such jurisdictions as the UK and US where there have been a significant number of bank bail-outs.”

Chris recently completed with Professor Peter Watts and (former Associate Professor) Neil Campbell a text for LexisNexis entitled Company Law in New Zealand which was published in September 2011. Currently on research and study leave he has been carrying out preliminary work for an OUP monograph entitled Banks in the Conflict of Laws.