Inaugural event of the new Corporate & Financial Law Research Group
On 24 May 2019 the newly established Corporate & Financial Law (“CFL”) Research Group, under the leadership of Prof. Iain MacNeil, had their launch. This was a successful event with two international speakers presenting on cryptocurrencies and the use of de facto land rights as collateral for credit. These topics fit in nicely with the overall interests and projects of the group. The 15 academic members and doctoral researchers, coming from diverse international backgrounds, focus on company law, corporate finance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and financial regulation.
Recent projects of the Group looked at non-financial reporting, considering ESG issues, in the context of FTSE 100 companies as well as the consideration of these issues into investment mandates, climate-related disclosures, and the possible tension between systemic risk and climate change. The facilitation of collaborative and interdisciplinary research both within and beyond the group is a key focus.
The event was kicked of with Dr Matteo Solinas of Victoria University, Wellington (https://www.victoria.ac.nz/law/about/staff/matteo-solinas) delivering a paper on cryptocurrencies and intermediation. In his presentation he examined the legal boundaries of Bitcoin, focusing on whether or not it can be classified as property under English law. It focused on the conventional perception of ownership rights over Bitcoins and the developments in market practice. Prof Joe Tanega of Brussels Diplomatic Academy (https://brusselsdiplomaticacademy.eu/academics/joseph-tanega/) responded to the paper which led to a stimulating discussion from the audience.
Our guest from the US, Prof Steven Schwarcz (Duke University) (https://law.duke.edu/fac/schwarcz/) then delivered a paper on the interesting topic of “Empowering the Poor: Turning De Facto Rights into Collateralized Credit”, with Dr Matteo Solinas commenting in turn. Prof Schwarcz started by stating that the shrinking middle class and the widening gap between rich and poor threaten social and financial stability. This paper dealt with the inability of the poor to obtain credit by using their de facto rights in property as collateral. He indicated that efforts (mostly unsuccessful due to property law being bound by vested ownership) to solve this problem have focused on trying to transform de facto rights into de jure title under property law. He then proposed an innovative, but balanced, approach to solving the credit problem.
For details of the Group’s membership, and the list of recent publications and projects by the group, please go to: https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/law/research/groups/corporate-and-financial/