The third lecture in the special lecture series, The common law and finance: perspectives from the bench, was given by Lord Briggs of Westbourne, Justice of the Supreme Court, on 7 February 2019.

Lord Briggs’ lecture, entitled “The Lehman insolvency and beyond”, focused on the ability of common law courts, and particularly the ability of English courts, to respond satisfactorily to systemic financial crises. A number of measures of success were identified, including the ability of the courts to resolve the (typically both voluminous and complex) legal problems arising with sufficient speed, and then applied to test the work of the English courts in the Lehman case and other recent complex cross-border insolvencies. Of particular interest to many in the audience was Lord Briggs’ discussion of practice and procedure, the judge identifying a number of recent procedural innovations that had been developed with a view to resolving issues in insolvency cases at minimum cost and with maximum speed. The lecture was followed by comments from Louise Gullifer, Professor of Commercial Law. 

The final lecture in the series will be given by Judge Frank Easterbrook (Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago) on May 23. That lecture is entitled “Legal Origins, Securities Fraud, and the Efficiency of the Common Law”. 

The series is generously sponsored by the Bapsybanoo Marchioness of Winchester Trust, the Travers Smith Fund, and the Commercial Law Centre, Harris Manchester College, Oxford. For further information on the series, contact the convenors, Joshua Getzler and Kristin van Zwieten.