Finding Legal Principle in Global Financial Regulation

41 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2013

See all articles by David T. Zaring

David T. Zaring

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department

Date Written: June 19, 2013


How does global financial regulation work? I propose six principles that organize its current practice: 1) a national treatment principle, 2) a most favored nation principle, 3) a preference for rulemaking over adjudication, 4) a subsidiarity principle of enforcement, 5) a peer review model of enforcement, and 6) a network model of institutionalization. Most of these principles are shared by other institutions that meet the criteria of formal international law. These emerging doctrines and institutional arrangements are stable, principled, and accordingly increasingly amenable to traditional legal analysis. While financial regulatory cooperation, as it is currently structured, is not the same thing as public international law, it exemplifies the parallel development of legal and other forms of state obligation. Moreover, analyzing global financial regulation as a law-like institution offers new insights into an increasingly paramount form of the regulation of finance, one that is likely to be a principal accomplishment of twenty-first-century international cooperation.

Suggested Citation

Zaring, David T., Finding Legal Principle in Global Financial Regulation (June 19, 2013). Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 683-722, 2012. Available at SSRN:

David T. Zaring (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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