Law

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The Jolly Contrarian’s Glossary

The snippy guide to financial services lingo.™
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Laws, regulations, EU regulations, directives and so on

To what extent are regulations different to laws, such that saying “laws” in a contract doesn’t capture “regulations”, or vice versa? A sterile debate, to be sure, but one with respect to which surrender before kick-off has yielded the ghastly peppering of legal contracts with tedious expressions like “applicable laws, regulations and binding rulings of competent authorities”. Can we not just say “laws” and be done with it?

Laws”, narrowly, are those statutory instruments directly enacted by a sovereign legislature, having binding effect on all those who stray within their purview.

Regulations” are supplementary rules promulgated by the executive (or some other lucky punter — a local securities regulator, or stock exchange — to whom the legislature has delegated that power). In this sense, regulations tend to be more fiddly, pernickety, and liable to periodic change — they don’t need to pass through two houses and receive royal assent after all — but by the lights of an affected subject, they carry no less weight, are no less binding, and for their breach sanctions are no less severe. So, really, the distinction, in a legal contract, is fussy.

Confusingly, in the European context, an EU regulation (by contrast to an EU directive is quite a different animal: far from being some capricious executive ornamentation on a domestic law, an EU Regulation is an ur-law: it applies, directly as a law of the land in all EEA jurisdictions, when declared by the European Council in Parliament, without the need for any adoption in local law. An EU Directive does not apply until adopted into local law, although the local legislature may be obliged by EU rules to adopt it within a certain time frame.

The JC and ~

We are mostly about the law of contract, the odd bit of tort, quite a lot of securities regulation (Because we are all regulatory lawyers[1] now), some jurisprudence around the edges (more of it is mainstream epistemology really), and an awful lot of miscellany relating to derivatives and master trading agreements as well as conference calls, reg tech and a bit of cricket.

Firm views on indemnities.

Will make fun of US attorneys, but deep down is quite fond of them.

The anatomies listed on the left are where you should start.

References

  1. Ich bin ein Regulierungsanwalt” — J. F. Kennedy.