School of Law

Secured Transactions Law Reform: Priority Rules and the Impact on Consumers

6 January 2017 09:30 - 16:45

The Liberty Building, Moot Court Room

This is a free event however registration is required in advance. Refreshments will be provided.

In this Section:

The conference, held in conjunction with the Secured Transactions Law Reform Project, and part-funded by the Society of Legal Scholars, will assess different models of secured transactions law reform, the impact on other areas of law, and specific problematic asset classes such as financial collateral, intellectual property rights and bitcoin. It will look at English law in the context of international, Commonwealth and European developments. One model of reform is that of the Personal Property Security Act based on the US article 9 UCC, and versions of such legislation have been introduced in New Zealand, Australia and the common law provinces of Canada. The UNCITRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions also follows this pattern. However, jurisdictions such as Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong have not introduced such legislation, and the City of London Law Society, while in favour of reform and codification, does not favour a PPSA-style approach. Its Secured Transactions Code is therefore quite different in many respects. 

The conference examines the relationship of a reformed law on two areas in particular. The first is the effect of reform on priorities and nemo dat quod non habet. The latter is the rule that a transferor cannot give his transferee any better title to an asset than he has. There are exceptions, such as that a buyer in possession who has not yet received ownership of the goods can still pass good title to third parties. Many PPSA (Personal Property Security Acts) in the Commonwealth treat retention of title clauses as security interests, so the “seller” retaining title or ownership of goods under the clause is treated as if title had passed to the buyer and he was given a security interest instead. To what extent does this change the law as to nemo dat? The City of London Law Society has indicated its opposition to re-characterisation, and the conference examines what that opposition implies for the nemo dat rules. The second area involves security taken by consumer debtors. The Law Commission’s Bills of Sale Report has recently been published and recommends replacing the security bill of sale with a goods mortgage and vehicle mortgage and improvements in consumer protection in the area. The conference examines this proposed reform and consumer protection within a reformed law more generally.

A limited amount of money is available to help with the travel expenses of PhD students attending the conference. For more information, please contact

Director’s Welcome: 9.30-9.45 (Gerard McCormack, Leeds; Duncan Sheehan, Leeds) 

Session 1: Secured Transactions Reform: Perfection, Priorities and Nemo Dat in English Law (9.45-10.45)

  • The Effect of Re-characterisation in an English PPSA 
    on Nemo Dat & Priorities (Duncan Sheehan, Leeds)
  • Reform without Re-characterisation: the view from the City of London 
    Law Society (Richard Calnan, Norton Rose Fulbright, CLLS    

Session 2: Specific Asset Classes (11.00-12.30)

  • Intellectual property (Andrea Tosato, Nottingham)
  • Financial collateral (Ed Murray, Allen & Overy)
  • New technologies (taking security over bitcoin)
    (David Quest, 3 Verulam Bldgs)

Session 3: International and European Comparisons (13.45-14.45)

  • International and European Perspectives: UNCITRAL Model Law and 
    DCFR on Priority and Taking Free (Ole Böger, Bremen Circuit Court)
  • Priority Rules under Cape Town Convention and interaction
    with national rules (Anton Didenko, Oxford)

Session 4: Consumers and Secured Transactions Reform (15.15-16.15)

  • The Law Commission Perspective: Bills of Sale, Goods and 
    Vehicle Mortgages (Tammy Goriely, Law Commission)
  • Consumer Protection in Secured Transactions (Sarah Brown, Leeds)

Prospects for Reform: the view from BEIS? (16.15-16.30) (Francis Evans (BEIS)

Closing Remarks (16.30-16.45) (Louise Gullifer, Oxford)

Session 1: Secured Transactions Reform: Perfection, Priorities and Nemo Dat in English Law

Session 2: Specific Asset Classes

Session 3: International and European Comparisons 

Session 4: Consumers and Secured Transactions Reform 



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