The most important lesson to be learnt from the financial crisis perhaps is that nation states cannot deal with the challenges of global financial markets on their own. As markets become more and more connected, sovereignty becomes increasingly fictitious. Although there seems to be little dispute about this, the implications for legal scholarship are far from clear. How can legal scholars contribute to solving the issues of global financial markets? Do we need a shift of paradigm in how to think about securities regulation? Which theoretical backgrounds should we rely on?
An answer to these questions might be found in the growing body of literature on transnational law. Transnational law defines a fourth category of law beyond the triad of national, international and supranational law which evolves beyond the nation state due to private ordering, social convenience and non-legal convention. Transnational law scholarship embraces the idea that nation states are in decline and that, as a result, legal scholars should turn their attention to such phenomena as soft law and indirect regulation, private ordering and self-regulation, regulatory competition, legal convergence and legal transplants. All of these phenomena can be seen as consequences of the globalisation of markets and as signs of the decline of the nation state. Although they are part of virtually any advanced securities regulation worldwide, they seem to be little explored from a legal perspective.
From 3 to 5 March 2010, the German Association for Law and Society and the University of Bremen hosted a conference on transnationalism in law, state and society. Part of this conference was a panel on transnational financial markets regulation. The aim of this panel was to ask some renowned experts on national, European and international securities regulation to analyse their fields of research from the perspective of transnational law.
This paper serves as an introduction to the topic and to the presentations given at the conference. It seeks to define the term ‘transnational financial markets regulation’ and to show why the study of transnational financial markets law promises to be rewarding. It concludes with a short summary of the presentations given at the conference.