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2 - Global Markets and the English Courts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 December 2020

Jo Braithwaite
Affiliation:
London School of Economics and Political Science
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Summary

The previous chapter explored the pivotal role of the ISDA Master Agreement in the evolution of the OTC derivatives markets and highlighted the combination of legal techniques behind the various ‘self-help’ remedies in this contract. These contractual remedies, which culminate with Close-out, are designed to manage disruption arising during the lifespan of a derivatives contract without requiring recourse to the formal procedures associated with enforcing rights under general law. While versions of these self-help remedies appear in many types of financial contracts, including in market standard syndicated loan agreements and in the terms and conditions of debt securities, they have reached unmatched levels of sophistication in the derivatives context. As such they have been referred to in a recent English case as amounting to ‘an exclusive code’ under which parties manage the implications of a breach of contract, to the exclusion of the general law. As is now well-documented in the literature addressing the transnational qualities of modern finance, these arrangements underpin the cross-border markets in OTC derivatives by promoting autonomy from national insolvency law, a strategy which has, in turn, enjoyed generous regulatory treatment. The questions to which this chapter now turns is what role is left for the courts in relation to such a tightly designed, closely maintained and ‘exclusive’ contractual framework, and, as a starting point, why such litigation arises in the first place.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Financial Courts
Adjudicating Disputes in Derivatives Markets
, pp. 50 - 75
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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