A Legal Theory of Finance

Year Published 2013
Business unit: Special Projects
Resource type: Discussion papers
File type: PDF
Theme(s): Economic Development, Finance, Policy analysis

Description

This paper by Katharina Pistor, Columbia Law School was prepared for the Public Law & Legal Theory Working Paper Group. This paper develops the building blocks for a legal theory of finance. LTF holds that financial markets are legally constructed and as such occupy an essentially hybrid place between state and market, public and private. At the same time, financial markets exhibit dynamics that frequently put them in direct tension with commitments enshrined in law or contracts. This is the case especially in times of financial crisis when the full enforcement of legal commitments would result in the self-destruction of the financial system. This law-finance paradox tends to be resolved by suspending the full force of law where the survival of the system is at stake; that is, at its apex. It is here that power becomes salient.

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