Transnational Law, Finance and Technology

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law

Module overview

The module deals with the actors, norms, processes, and mechanisms at stake in transnational law. Various approaches to defining transnational law as a distinct field of law versus a methodological critique of finance and technology in a global context are considered. Case studies, taken out of legal practice in financial and technological contexts, provide an opportunity to explore complex, border-crossing problems that involve jurisdictions in the Global South (the Middle East and Africa). Case studies illustrate concrete legal problems, patterns or trends in transnational law such as: the degree to which established legal fields have begun to change or develop under the influence of hybrid norm creation, the intersection of public and private law, global regulatory dynamics and distributional trade-offs, technological diffusion and regulatory control, the rise of non-state actors such as nongovernmental organisations as well as multinational corporations, the offshoring/onshoring of law or the transfer of value via transnational social networks.

The module seeks to develop methodological toolkits for the socio-legal engagement with globalisation, grounded in critical, post-colonial, new institutional economic and sociological theories. It questions whether the understanding of law on the books via its principles, doctrines, and history is sufficient. It seeks to understand law in action as it originates, operates, influences and is influenced by the complex and untidy contexts of the real world. This requires an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law that considers issues of economic behaviour, political economy, and the state-law nexus. This approach questions the assumption of the state-law nexus as a historical fact. Instead, the experimental, evolving and, at times, precarious character, of this nexus is considered. We are prompted to reengage with its potential but, importantly, we will also consider its limitations and vulnerabilities.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module


On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Analyse, describe and critique ‘transnational law’ and/or evaluate and explain transnational law in a financial or technological context.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the various methodologies involved in the analysis of transnational law in context.
  • Describe and analyse some of the primary case studies of transnational legal practice in finance and technology contexts.
  • Critically assess the regulatory conflicts that mark the transnational financial and technological contexts.
  • Discuss the state law nexus in view of examples of transnational legal practice in finance and technology contexts.




A weekly 2-hour seminar


Scope and syllabus


Part I: Theoretical Concepts and Methodologies

  • Transnational law or a methodological architecture for global law in context?
  • Global legal pluralism

Part II: Case Studies

  • Transnational unification and/or harmonisation of commercial law
  • Transnational commercial law in an African context: the organisation for harmonisation of business law in Africa (Ohada); the CISG and UNCITRAL rules
  • Transnational private law disputes
  • Globalisation and regulatory trends: finance and technology
  • Inter-legal arrangements: public-private, formal-informal regulatory arrangements
  • Blockchain, cryptocurrencies and the law
  • Informal finance: institutions, culture and social networks
  • Offshoring/onshoring of law


Method of assessment


  • Essay: 80% (3000 words)
  • Concept paper: 20% (500 words)


Suggested reading

Core reading

William Twining, Globalisation and Legal Theory (Butterworths, 2000)
Gunther Teubner, Global Law Without a State (Dartmouth Publishing Co, 1997)
Gralf-Peter Calliess and Peer Zumbansen, Rough Consensus and Running Code (Hart Publishing 2010)
Roger Cotterrell, Sociological Jurisprudence: Juristic Thought and Social Inquiry (Routledge, 2018)
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Toward a New Legal Common Sense: Law, Globalization, and Emancipation (Butterworths LexisNexis, 2002)
Saskia Sassen, A Sociology of Globalization (W.W. Norton & Co., 2007)
David Vogel and Robert A. Kagan, Dynamics of Regulatory Change (University of California Press, 2004)
Tim Buethe and Walter Mattli, The New Global Rulers: Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy (Princeton University Press, 2011)
Andrew Moriss, Offshore Financial Centres and Regulatory Competition (AEI Press, 2010)
Mark Granovetter, Society and Economy: Framework and Principles (Harvard University Press, 2017)
Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright, Blockchain and the Law (Harvard University Press, 2018)

Additional reading

Jonathan Ercanbrack, The Transformation of Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets (Cambridge University Press 2015) Available in SOAS Library
Dawn Oliver, Tony Prosser and Richard Rawlings, Transnational Legal Theory (Oxford University Press, 2014) Not Available
Peer Zumbansen, The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Law ( Oxford University Press, 2021) Not available
Roger Cotterrell and Maksymilian Del Mar, Authority in Transnational Legal Theory: Theorising Across Disciplines (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016) Available in SOAS Library
Roy Goode, Herbert Kronke and Ewan McKendrick, Transnational Commercial Law: Texts, Cases and Materials (Oxford University Press, 2015) Available in SOAS Library
Werner Menski, Comparative Law in a Global Context (Cambridge University Press, 2006) Available in SOAS Library


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules