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Institute of Banking and Finance Law


The Institute of Banking and Finance Law is one of Europe’s leading research centres on Banking and Finance law. Its members have been successful in publishing books and articles in internationally refereed journals.

Research projects

The Institute’s research covers the most topical subjects in the field of banking and finance law and include: central banking, international banking and finance, global financial markets, international monetary law, derivatives, crypto assets regulation and DeFi structures, corporate finance law, M&As, SPACs and alternative acquisition models, private equity and venture capital, investment banking law, EU financial law, resolution and insolvency of financial institutions and financial crisis management, banking and financial regulation, Islamic finance, WTO law, IMF law, international investment law, sovereign debt management and restructuring, insurance law, ethics in business and finance, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and green finance. The individual profiles of each member provide a more detailed description of their individual research projects. Moreover, the Institute is involved in a variety of joint publications and research projects, for example: 

Panelists at the Sovereign Debt Forum Launch

The Sovereign Debt Forum (SDF) is the result of a collaboration between Queen Mary University of London (Centre for Commercial Law Studies, CCLS) and Georgetown University (Institute of International Economic Law, IIEL) and was launched at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC on 21 October 2019. In the spring of 2020, the European University Institute became a member of the SDF.

Professor Rosa Maria Lastra, Sir John Lubbock Chair in Banking Law and Chair of the Institute of Banking and Finance Law at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS), is an academic director of the forum with Anna Gelpern (Georgetown). Visiting Professorial Fellow at the School of Law at Queen Mary, Lee Buchheit, is also a Founding Director of the forum with, Mitu Gulati (Duke), and Sean Hagan (Georgetown). Professor Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, Professor of Professor of Banking and Finance Law at CCLS, Professor Ugo Panizza from Graduate Institute, and Mark Weidemaier of North Carolina University are affiliated scholars of the Forum.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, chaired by Lord Bridges of Headley opened a new inquiry on the Bank of England earlier this year. 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the Bank of England Act 1998. This Act gave the Bank of England its independence and reformed the structure, responsibilities and functions of the Bank. The Economic Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry to examine how operational independence is working. The enquiry focuses on the Bank’s role and remit; whether the governance structures of the Bank are appropriate; and how the Bank is being held accountable for its actions. Professor Lastra is the Specialist Adviser in this inquiry.

This project aims to assess the state of financial inclusion in the communities around Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End Campus to increase the awareness of academics and students at the University of local conditions. Subsequently, the project will harness this increased awareness to direct further research and analysis towards the causes and remedies of financial exclusion in the Mile End area, and we hope the project will help inform and influence policy on financial inclusion.

The Queen Mary Financial Inclusion Project is supported by the Principal’s office, represented by Philippa Lloyd and originated within the Banking and Finance Department by the imitative of Professor Lastra, Sir William Blair, Charles Randell CBE and Carlos Carvalho.

Lexis Nexis officially supports the project by providing access to data and making their team available for training and talks on this subject. 

Professor Lastra is an expert member of the Unidroit Working Group (WG). After the 2008 global financial crisis, the international community has developed a legal framework to manage the failure of ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions in a way that preserves financial stability. Despite this significant progress, critical gaps remain. Specifically, there is no international guidance on how to deal effectively with the failure of small and medium-sized banks. The design of bank liquidation laws is left purely to domestic legislation and differs substantially across the globe. The UNIDROIT project on Bank Insolvency aims at addressing the current gap in the international legal architecture by developing an international soft law instrument covering the key features of bank liquidation proceedings. The preparation of a guidance document on Bank Insolvency is expected to be adopted by 2024. The work is conducted in cooperation with and with the support of the BIS Financial Stability Institute.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Legal Transition Team promoted in 2020 an assessment of business reorganisation tools in all 38 emerging economies where the EBRD is active. The goal was to help governments and legislators to identify where longer-term legal reforms are needed to encourage the use of insolvency tools for business continuity and turnaround. Queen Mary University of London – CCLS has actively contributed to the drafting of the EBRD Assessment Report. Professor Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, Dr Daniele D’Alvia, and Professor John Taylor acted as external advisors. The main EBRD Assessment Report provides a comprehensive cross-jurisdictional analysis of business reorganisation tools and stakeholders’ perceptions on business re-organisation in 38 emerging economies that are part of the EBRD regions, while exploring recent insolvency trends and practices in more advanced markets such as France, Germany, England and Wales, and the United States. 

Professor Lastra is Vice Chair of the Monetary Committee of the International Law Association, MOCOMILA and Professor Sir William Blair is the honorary Chair of MOCOMILA. MOCOMILA is a distinguished and influential group of specialists in international monetary law drawn from academia, international organisations, central banks, and private practice, which has significantly contribute to the development and understanding of this field of law over the last fifty years.

In 2023 as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the ILA, Professor Rosa M. Lastra is part of the Steering Committee on the Law of International Finance that will present a report on June 19, 2023 on ‘International Finance Law in 2050’. Other members of this Committee are: Caroline Kleiner (Professor at the Université Paris Cite and the coordinator of the project); Manjao Chi (Professor and Founding Director, Center for International Economic Law and Policy (CIELP) Law School, University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) Beijing); Kevin E Davis (Beller Family Professor of Business Law at New York University School of Law); Jaime Granados (Chief Trade and Investment Division at the Inter-American Development Bank); Mathias Lehmann (Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva, President of the African Society for International Law (ASIL)); Maude Valle (Head of Operations & Head of Operations at the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF); Chiara Zilioli (Director General of the ECB’s Legal Services, Professor at the Goethe University Frankfurt and the European College of Parma, Parma University). 

Professor Lastra is a Member of the Academic Board of EBI (European Banking Institute) and Dr Daniele D’Alvia is part of the Associated Researchers Group (ARG) of the EBI. The European Banking Institute is a joint venture of European top universities, launched in 2016 to coordinate research activity of its members on banking regulation and supervision and ensure a close interaction with supervisors and the banking industry. The EBI’s mission is to share its research activities to provide the highest quality of legal, economic and accounting studies in banking regulation, banking supervision and banking resolution in Europe  – CCLS is part of regular conferences and academic debates.

This Project, administered by Queen Mary University of London Centre for Commericial Law Studies, is funded by the ESRC under the Macro-Economic Finance Hub of 'Rebuilding Macroeconomics,' a large collaborative Project at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

The research group comprises Principal Investigator Professor Rosa Lastra (Sir John Lubbock Chair in Banking Law, QMUL CCLS) and Co-Investigators Dr Jason Grant Allen (Senior Fellow, Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society), Dr David Andolfatto (Senior Vice President, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank), Mr Simon Gleeson (Partner, Clifford Chance), Dr Michael Kumhof (Senior Research Advisor, Bank of England), and Professor Saule T. Omarova (Beth & Marc Goldberg Professor of Law, Cornell University). It will run from September 2019 to August 2020. 

Lawyers and economists seem to approach money orthogonally—economists taking a more functional approach that includes a broader range of phenomena within the definition, lawyers emphasising legal tender status and the chattel characteristics of the conventional, core form of money—banknotes and coins. But there is commonality between legal and economic conceptions of money, too. Legal treatises over the past decade or two have given more importance to economic notions of monetary “aggregates” and the fact that things like commercial bank deposits—bi-lateral obligations between a bank and a customer—seem to function like money. 

“Law and economics” is not a one-way street, either; law makes important contributions to economic conceptions of money. Some economists approach money as a spontaneous creation of private market forces. Law provides the essential micro-transactional apparatus that such theories assume. Others stress the role of state organs in the creation and maintenance of a money system, especially in the modern context. Law in turn provides the essential constitutional framework that such theories assume. In all cases, legal theory might provide important impulses that will assist macro-economists revising conventional theories and approaches to understanding money in light of technological change in our century. In particular, law highlights the need for a granular view of what is actually happening in e.g. payment with a banknote (change of property in a chattel), with bank deposits (e.g. destruction of one liability, creation of a new one possibly with a new bank), or with “virtual currency” (currently under debate). It highlights the importance of the legally-constructed notion of the monetary unit and promises to help organise and rank the classical functions of “money” as a medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account. 

The conference is organised by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown Law and IIEL, Queen Mary University of London (CCLS), Tulane, and Yale Law School. Each year the conference is dedicated to a specific theme within the analysis of the role of law as an instrument of macroeconomic policy, and a means to providing social protection. There have been five conferences so far since 2019.

The Sixth Conference on Law and Macroeconomics will be held on 2 and 3 November 2023 at Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Specifically, the conference will focus on the past year that has seen a dramatic increase in economic, financial, social, and political turmoil worldwide. Policy responses to price instability have in turn generated predictable but unforeseen collateral crises and vulnerabilities, including bank failures, asset market turmoil, and rising risks of domestic, regional, and global recession, which require their own policy responses. Climate, public health, and migration challenges persist and continue to reflect vast economic disparities. These developments reinforce the imperative of research at the intersection of law and macroeconomics, even as they recast and sharpen our understanding of the field. They form the background for the Sixth Conference on Law and Macroeconomics. 

Professor Lastra is the main editor of the new SSRN-E Journal on Law and Macroeconomics.

Professor Lastra has been working with the IMF Legal Department in developing guidance on the impact of central banking and sustainability on central banking and banking regulation. She organised a workshop with them in June 2022 and seminars with them at the Bank of England and with FCA and HMT senior legal staff on 9 May 2023.

Professor Lastra’s collaboration with IMF in the area of climate change builds on a long-lasting intellectual partnership covering several legislative developments and policy proposals (including legal issues related to Brexit, bank insolvency and resolution, public debt, central banking, and bank regulation) in which her research has been impactful from the IMF’s prospective.

Professor Lastra’s research has been particularly impactful in the area of digitalisation of money. In 2022 she was invited to deliver keynote speeches on the subject of public digital money (CBDCs) in Edinburgh University, in the Dominican Republic, and in Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

In addition to the collaboration with the IMF Legal Department and with the BIS Innovation Hub, Professor Lastra is part of the CEPS Digital Euro Round Table and of the Digital Assets Panel of the Bank of England (an expert group that has been formed to look at CBDCs and digitalisation). The US House Financial Services Committee legal counsel has also approached Professor Lastra for feedback on their digital assets agenda in particular the stablecoin bill draft bills (Democratic Compromise draft and Republicans bill). Professor Lastra and Professor Filippo Annunziata are co-editing a book on ‘The Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA)’ to be published as part of Oxford EU Financial Regulation Series.

Professor Lastra is convening every academic year one annual conference either at premises of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies of Queen Mary University of London or the Bank of England in London in order to discuss the last developments and state of the art of financial markets and monetary policies.

For example, on 1 and 2 December 2022, the Centre for Commercial Law Studies of Queen Mary University of London and Legal Directorate of the Bank of England hosted a conference on ‘Central Bank Mandates in an Evolving World’. The conference jointly co-organised by Sonya Branch, General Counsel of the BoE, and Professor Rosa M. Lastra, Sir John Lubbock Chair in Banking Law was part of the MOCOMILA meeting and an event of the Sovereign Debt Forum. The conference held in the auditorium of the Bank of England brought together MOCOMILA members and Bank of England staff to discuss crypto-assets and CBDCs (in the first panel), climate change and sustainability (in the second panel), and accountability, legitimacy and communication (in the third panel).

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