James Merralls Visiting Fellowship in Law Lecture - 30.06.2021

The James Merralls Visiting Fellowship in Law Law Lecture 2021 was presented online by Professor Douglas W. Arner of Hong Kong University on Wednesday 30 June 2021.

Event details

The 2021 James Merralls Visiting Fellowship in Law Lecture was presented on 30 June 2021, by Professor Douglas Arner, Kerry Holdings Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

The topic of the lecture is Digital Finance, COVID-19 and Existential Sustainability Crises: Building Better Financial Systems.

The origins of the 2008 crisis and the current crisis are different: the 2008 crisis was a financial crisis that spilt over into the real economy, while COVID-19 is a health and geopolitical crisis spilling over into the real economy. As such, COVID-19 – a pandemic and an existential sustainability crisis – requires different approaches.

This lecture will explore how COVID-19 experiences are driving forward a range of efforts to build better infrastructure to address future crises, in particular interoperable electronic payments systems (including central bank digital currencies and other forms of sovereign digital currency), sovereign digital identification (particularly in the context of market integrity and non face-to-face transactions), and use of technology for regulatory, supervisory and compliance purposes.

At the same time, digitization generally and of finance in particular driven by the COVID-19 crisis – while providing effective tools to support the response – also raises new challenges, particularly around forms of TechRisk arising from control and use of data from both state and non-state actors. Looking forward, these are among the most significant challenges for policy, law and regulation in the 2020s.

James Merralls Fellowship in Law Lecture

This lecture is named in honour of the late James Merralls AM KC, an alumnus of Melbourne Law School, who graduated LLB (Hons) in 1958. Mr Merralls was a resident tutor in law at Trinity College between 1958 and 1972 and was Dean of the College in 1967 and 1968.

Mr Merralls made an enormous contribution to the Australian legal profession over the course of his career. In addition to an illustrious practice at the Victorian Bar, Mr Merralls was a reporter for the Commonwealth Law Reports between 1960 and 1969 and was the editor from 1969 to 2016. He was publicly commended for his contribution to the Australian legal profession by many of our leading practitioners and judges, including successive Chief Justices of the High Court of Australia. The Australian legal profession owes a large debt of gratitude to Mr Merralls.

Professor Douglas W. Arner

Douglas W. Arner is the Kerry Holdings Professor in Law and Director and co-founder of the Asian Institute of International Financial Law at the University of Hong Kong, as well as Associate Dean (Taught Postgraduate & Development) and Faculty Director and co-founder of the LLM in Compliance and Regulation, LLM in Corporate and Financial Law, and Law, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (LITE) Programmes.

In 2020 he was awarded an inaugural Hong Kong Research Grants Council Senior Fellowship to study the role of digital finance in financial inclusion and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Douglas has published eighteen books and more than 200 articles, chapters and reports on international financial law and regulation, including most recently Reconceptualising Global Finance and its Regulation (Cambridge 2016) (with Ross Buckley and Emilios Avgouleas) and The RegTech Book (Wiley 2019 (Janos Barberis and Ross Buckley).

His recent papers are available on SSRN at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=524849 , where he is among the top 60 authors in the world by total downloads. Douglas led the development of Introduction to FinTech – launched with edX in May 2018 and now with over 80,000 learners spanning almost every country in the world – and the foundation of the edx-HKU Online Professional Certificate in FinTech. In addition, he is Associate Director of the Standard Chartered Foundation-HKU FinTech Academy, a Senior Visiting Fellow of Melbourne Law School of the University of Melbourne, a non-executive director of NASDAQ and Euronext listed Aptorum Group, an Advisory Board Member of the Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE), and co-founder and an executive board member of the Asia Pacific Structured Finance Association.

Douglas was an inaugural member of the Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council (2013-2019) and Director of the Duke-HKU Asia America Institute in Transnational Law (2005-2016) and has served as a consultant with, among others, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UN, APEC, Alliance for Financial Inclusion, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

He has lectured, co-organised conferences and seminars and been involved with financial sector reform projects around the world. Douglas has been a visiting professor or fellow at Duke, Harvard, the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research, IDC Herzliya, McGill, Melbourne, National University of Singapore, University of New South Wales, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and Zurich, among others.