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School of Law

Reforming financial regulation and resolution

The Royal Exchange and the 122 Leadenhall Street skyscraper, City of London
The Royal Exchange in the City of London
Rosa Lastra

Professor Rosa María Lastra

Sir John Lubbock Chair in Banking Law

In September 2008, financial services firm Lehman Brothers collapsed. The closure was sudden and disorderly, and this unprecedented crisis highlighted the disconnection between global markets and national law.

Professor Rosa María Lastra, Queen Mary’s Sir John Lubbock Chair in Banking Law, has undertaken extensive research that fills critical gaps in international financial law and addresses cross-border issues.

Professor Lastra has built bridges between law and economics, trade and finance, financial regulation and resolution, EU law and monetary law, and between banking crises and sovereign debt crises.

Paths to reform

Professor Lastra’s research on central banking, financial regulation and cross border resolution of banking crises has been a basis for the reform of the law in these areas nationally and internationally.

Policies aimed at reforming financial regulation and enhancing stability have been initiated or revised at the:

  • International Monetary Fund
  • Financial Stability Board
  • European Central Bank
  • European Commission
  • Bank of England
Dr Lastra’s work sets the standard for scholarship across the entire field of monetary law. It is indispensable resource for anyone working and thinking in this field.
— Geoffrey Miller, Professor of Law, NYU Law School on International Financial and Monetary Law

How has the research led to change?

National impact

Lastra has influenced UK government policy in response to the financial crisis. In 2009, the European Union Committee (Subcommittee A) of the House of Lords conducted an inquiry into the future of EU financial regulation and supervision and appointed Lastra as Specialist Adviser. Lastra wrote many of the questions put by the Committee to expert witnesses and contributed to the writing of the final report.

In 2021, Professor Lastra was appointed specialist adviser in an inquiry on the Quantitative Easing (QE) programme of the Bank of England. The Committee is examining QE in the context of the Bank of England’s operational independence, its accountability and the transparency of its decision-making. The inquiry also considers the effects of the programme on distributional justice, inequality, financial markets vulnerabilities and inflation, and takes into account the international and comparative dimension.

In 2011-12 Lastra gave evidence to:

  • the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons on the accountability of the Bank of England

  • the House of Lords European Union Committee, Subcommittee A, with regard its inquiry into the Banking Union proposals

  • the joint Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards on professional standards and the culture of the UK banking sector, and their implications for regulation and for Government policy. She made recommendations for legislative and other action. 


She has also been principal investigator in a project on Legal and Economic Conceptions of Money funded by the ESRC under the Rebuilding Macroeconomics network (NIESR) which tries to cast some light on the definition and future of money in the digital age.

International impact

Lastra has also contributed to the design of international financial soft law. She has acted as Technical Assistance Advisor to the IMF.

Lastra’s Central Banking and Banking Regulation was referred to in a brief of the United States of America.

Lastra has acted as expert witness in international arbitration cases.

European impact

Lastra’s work has helped shape the development of EU law. In 2011, she provided legal consultancy services to the European Central Bank on issues pertaining to the eurozone crisis.

In 2012, Lastra was invited to provide an expert legal view to the European Commission.

Professor Lastra is a member of two expert panels of the European Parliament: the Monetary Panel since 2015 and the Banking Union (Resolution) Panel since 2016. In this position, she writes expert reports at the request of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) of the European Parliament in the monetary dialogue with the European Central Bank (ECB), which holds the ECB to account in the conduct of its monetary policy responsibilities.

Enhancing public understanding of complex financial issues

Lastra has provided expert commentary in the media on issues related to the financial crisis contributing to improving public understanding of complex financial matters. Her work has been quoted in the Financial Times.

While there is extensive trade regulation under WTO law, there is a conspicuous absence of formal international law concerning money and finance. Professor Lastra posits that this lack of regulation was a significant contributing factor to the global financial crisis that commenced in 2007-2008.

Professor Lastra is co-director of the Sovereign Debt Forum, a collaboration between Georgetown and Queen Mary. The Forum serves as an interdisciplinary research hub and a platform for capacity building, policy development, and research-dissemination programs. The Forum’s capacity building work focuses on low- and middle-income countries at risk of sovereign debt distress, as well as countries that have recently gained market access and have limited debt management experience. The Forum has provided training sessions together with the World Bank to officials in low-income countries in 2020 and 2021.

Her work explores the causes of this disconnection and outlines a sound framework for the pursuit of financial stability in the UK, the EU and internationally. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, such a framework – including an end to pervasive 'too-big-to-fail' policies – is essential for the welfare of society.

Schools, institutes and research centres

School of Law

The School of Law has as its central focus the role of law and its institutions in contemporary international society. It is divided into two organisational units: the Department of Law and the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS).

Centre for Commercial Law Studies

CCLS was founded in 1980 as an environment where practising commercial lawyers and those from academia could meet and exchange ideas. It’s an innovation that continues to bear results, making the Centre a world leader in commercial law research.

Institute of Banking and Finance Law

The Institute of Banking and Finance Law is a centre of excellence in research and teaching of banking and finance law and is part of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS).