In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section International Financial Law

  • Introduction
  • International Law and Municipal Law
  • As a Component of International Law
  • The Role of Central Banks
  • Causes of Financial Crisis
  • Redesigning the International Financial Architecture
  • Legislative Reforms
  • Securities Regulation
  • Basel I, II, III
  • Behavioral Approach
  • International Monetary Law
  • International Trade Law
  • Regional Perspectives

International Law International Financial Law
Douglas Arner, Uzma Ashraf
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 June 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 June 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199796953-0022


With growing financial globalization, international financial law has increased in significance and profile, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 and the ongoing European financial crisis. Globalization of financial markets and the increase in frequency and severity of financial crises have led to evolving change in the realm of international financial law also. International financial law, historically primarily soft law in the form of standards transposed into domestic law, rules, and regulations, is most especially facing challenges in the wake of recent crises with calls and efforts to both reform its content and enhance its structure. This development, however, constitutes an ongoing debate and one that is particularly challenging because of issues relating to sovereignty, enforcement of decisions, fairness, and effectiveness. The debate overlaps with, and has significant potential implications for, both public international law and municipal law. Given its frequently nontraditional nature, international financial law can be compared and contrasted with monetary law and trade law, which are comparatively more traditional in their degree of legalization.

International Law and Municipal Law

The difficult question of how much legal power a state commands and who commands the allocation of jurisdictions of sovereignty, the legal dispute settlement processes, and linkages in international law are the issues explored by international law experts in this section. Barnhoorn and Wellens 1995 highlights interaction among international law, law of treaties and of remedies, treaty interpretation, amendment and adaptations, and state responsibility. Proctor 2005 approaches the subject from the legal aspects of defining law and money and extending the historical development of the concept through the technological challenges as they have emerged in today’s globalized world. On the other hand, Cane and Kritzer 2010 is an empirical study on vast areas of law, from particularly European and American perspectives, that takes into account not only the normative interpretations of law, but also the social practices of political, economic, and ethical importance. De Bellis 2010 lays out an interesting case of the interrelationship of domestic legal systems and international law regulatory regimes, on the one hand, while also, in discussing mechanisms of this hybrid approach, pointing to very important issues of accountability and legitimacy. Akehurst 1987 engages in an interesting debate on the interrelationship of municipal law, international law, and international economic law and on questions of jurisdiction and the legal personality of international law itself. The conceptual debate on the issue is taken up in Malanczuk 2002, which throws light on the problems when it comes to norms of municipal law and issues of state sovereignty.

  • Akehurst, Michael B. A Modern Introduction to International Law. 7th ed. London: Allen and Unwin, 1987.

    The broader scope of international law is debated particularly with a narrower focus on whether it is really law; a good discussion of international organizations, dispute settlement, immunity, and jurisdiction issues.

  • Barnhoorn, L. A. N. M., and Karel C. Wellens, eds. Diversity in Secondary Rules and the Unity of International Law. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1995.

    The international law debate from the perspectives of a united approach is explored thoroughly in this collection of articles edited by Barnhoom and Wellens. The chapter on General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) law and another on European Community law present special cases of international law.

  • Cane, Peter, and Herbert M. Kritzer, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199542475.001.0001

    A classic study of empirical research, focusing on legal systems and institutions. Part 1 deals with institutional empirical legal research, and Part 2 treats regulations, international law, contracts, and financial markets, among other topics. It is a classic reference book for academics and research students.

  • de Bellis, Maurizia.The New Public Law in a Global (Dis)Order: A Perspective from Italy. Jean Monnet Working Paper 17/10. New York: Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice, 2010.

    The author addresses different models of private norms as used in public regulation within domestic legal orders—“incorporation” and “reference” together with their advantages, limits, and systemic implications. The three instances of the use of international private standards within domestic legal system are analyzed.

  • Malanczuk, Peter. Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law. London: Routledge, 2002.

    Malanczuk brings into light the regulation of foreign businesses and corporations and international institutions that involve several factors of production (persons and capital) on the territorial jurisdiction of another state, on the one hand, and the international transactions involving goods, services, and capital, on the other.

  • Proctor, Charles. Mann on the Legal Aspect of Money. 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

    A classic work originally published in 1939, now comprehensively updated and revised by Proctor. It addresses dissenting issues of monetary sovereignty, monetary union, and legal aspects of contractual obligations as they are linked based on the Treaty of Rome as well as currency value and exchanges, especially the confrontational views on the renminbi’s value. The book is important for legal practitioners and academicians.

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