Robert Burrell introducing Steve Keen

Law and Monetary Theory Conference

In September 2014, Sheffield School of Law hosted its inaugural Law and Monetary Theory Conference, organised by Dr Jay Cullen, Professor Andrew Johnston and Professor Robert Burrell of the Sheffield Institute for Corporate and Commercial Law (SICCL). The conference explored the nexus between law and financial markets following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2011 and marked one of the first post-2008 attempts in the UK to combine the two disciplines of economics and law in relation to banking regulation.

The purpose was for lawyers to learn more about the proper role of regulation of the monetary system and the banking sector, informed by some of the best economic minds in the world. In particular, the organisers’ aimed to foster debate and critical discussion concerning the role of heterodox theories of money in designing bank regulation, especially in light of the ground-breaking economic work developed by the late Hyman Minsky. The failure to contemplate these heterodox theories is particularly pronounced in the legal academy, where there has been virtually no critical discussion of the nature of money in legal analysis, or of the implications of monetary theory for public policy and legislative design.

The conference format was designed to facilitate frank and healthy discussions between academics from economics and law and allowed participants to learn from one another through analysing economic concepts, challenging assumptions about the monetary system, and debating the proper role of legal analysis in banking regulation. To this end, economists presented papers on banking regulation in the post-2008 world, and lawyers and other specialists responded formally with analysis and comments from a legal perspective.

The main speakers from economics (each of whom is a Fellow of the Institute for New Economic Thinking) were:

  • Charles Goodhart, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics Financial Markets Group, former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee and former Chief Adviser to the Bank of England
  • L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, New York
  • Sheila Dow, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Stirling, former economist at the Bank of England, the Government of Manitoba and former adviser on monetary policy to the UK Treasury Select Committee.
  • Steve Keen, Professor and Head of Economics, History and Politics, University of Kingston, and Fellow at the Centre for Policy Development.

Each of the papers presented drew on heterodox theories of money to analyse and explain the strengths and weaknesses of post-2008 banking regulation. Academics, policymakers and practitioners who responded to these papers included:

  • Rosa Lastra, Professor in International Financial and Monetary Law, Queen Mary University, London,
  • Simon Deakin, Professor of Law, University of Cambridge, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Business Research (CBR)
  • Andrew Johnston, Professor of Company Law & Corporate Governance, University of Sheffield
  • Trevor Pugh, advanced visiting research fellow at the University of Sheffield and now Head of Sterling Trading, HSBC
  • Gudrun Johnsen, Assistant Professor of Finance, University of Iceland, former Senior Researcher, Special Investigation Commission, Icelandic Parliament
  • Ben Dyson, Co-founder, Positive Money
  • Dan Awrey, Associate Professor of Law & Finance, University of Oxford, and the Institute of New Economic Thinking
  • Alberto Montagnoli, Reader in Economics, University of Sheffield

'The conference was a resounding success and enabled attendees from different disciplines to forge new and exciting collaborative partnerships across continents. The conference was followed by a spectacular private dinner at INOX Dine, an exclusive venue at the University of Sheffield.'
Jay Cullen, Lecturer in Banking & Finance, University of Sheffield

Forthcoming event

Following the success of this venture, the Second Annual Law and Monetary Theory conference at the Sheffield School of Law will take place in September 2015.