735 Payments ("Horror Stories and Mysteries That Lurk Behind Every Payment You Make") - §001, Spring 2014

Categories: Business, Corporate, Commercial Law Economic Regulation

Instructor(s) Cohen, Adrian

Every day, you and everyone you know use the principles covered in this course. What’s more, you probably haven’t the slightest idea what risks you are taking and what potential disasters await every time you make a payment with anything other than cash. And even cash may cause problems! This course explores the rules that govern the payment of all kinds of monetary obligations: checks of all kinds, promissory notes, debit and credit cards, wire transfers and the rest of the payments universe. We will discuss the traps that hover in the dark periphery of each transaction. For example, you will learn that in common transactions that underpin our economy there are rules that may prevent you from raising any defenses whatsoever to payment even if you have been defrauded in connection with a purchase that gave rise to the obligation to pay. You will see that the mere transposition of a number in a wire transfer order may result in the irretrievable loss of money sent to a wrong account…even if everyone agrees it was an innocent error and the location of the wrong account is known. You will see that these kinds of problems occur every day in real life for consumers and businesses. You will be amazed at the coldly analytical application by modern courts of the centuries-old rules that derive from legal principles such as those saying it is inherently negligent to leave a woman in charge of a checkbook. Really. The Payments course mainly examines the principles of commercial paper law and banking as set forth in Articles Three and Four of the Uniform Commercial Code and in several federal statutes. The course provides an excellent exposure to statutory interpretation approaches, and even prepares you for the types of questions you might see on a bar exam. And it shows you some real everyday financial horrors and mysteries.

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