Cristie Ford

Professor

Research Classification

Law
Regulation
Social, Economical and Political Impacts of Innovations
Laws, Standards and Regulation Impacts
Administrative Law
Ideological, Political, Economical and Social Environments of Social Transformations

Research Interests

financial regulation
securities regulation
regulation & governance theory
Administrative Law
financial innovation and "fintech"
legal innovation and "law tech"
the legal profession

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Research Methodology

regulation and governance theory
legal analysis
qualitative and quantitative analysis

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Doctoral students
2019
2020
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Alleviating the corporate social responsibility reporting-performance inconsistency : a tentative proposal of the "reflexive law plus" model (2016)

The present research identifies corporate reporting-performance inconsistency as a major issue that undermines the current practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The inconsistency manifests in that companies either avoid disclosing negative information in their CSR reports or use vague and empty expressions to cover their CSR inaction. In most situations, instead of providing a complete and balanced picture and causing companies to re-examine their own CSR behaviour, CSR reporting has been declining into a strategic corporate communication tool that primarily serves firms’ own interests. Such a problem greatly challenges the fundamentals of CSR and raises hard questions as to the reliability of private regulation and corporate self-regulation pertaining to CSR reporting. Taking Canada as a field of research, the present study combines theoretical with empirical research methodology in order to thoroughly investigate the problem of the CSR reporting-performance inconsistency and provide a plausible solution to it from a law and regulation perspective. The main empirical research methods it takes are qualitative interviews and documentary analysis. In particular, the present research builds on the literature and empirical observations to explain the inconsistency and identify the regulatory gaps that currently exist in CSR reporting. As a side issue, it also questions the primary purpose of the CSR reporting regime, suggesting that CSR reporting should be used to transform irresponsible corporate performance and serve broader public goals.Inspired by the reflexive law literature and the empirical evidence, the present research develops a concrete model of “reflexive law plus” to address the CSR reporting-performance gap. “Reflexive law plus”, as named by the present research, is a refined form of reflexive law, in the sense that it is faithful to the fundamentals of the reflexive law theory, yet incorporates regulatory design components that can better catalyze and consolidate the self-referential capacity of the companies involved in CSR reporting. The present research holds that “reflexive law plus” provides a sound solution to remediate the inconsistency because it is pertinent to the regulatory circumstance in which CSR reporting is situated.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
An analysis of the proposed regulatory reforms for derivatives trading in Canada (2018)

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, policy makers have been working to develop laws that will increase the financial systems’ transparency and resiliency while maintaining fairness and efficiency. At the heart of the market infrastructure reform initiatives are measures aimed squarely at the regulation of derivatives.This paper aims to provide a high level review of some of the new Canadian legislation targeting derivatives. It examines the motivations for regulating the use of these sophisticated financial products as well as the complexity of legislating within a country whose securities laws have long been managed at the provincial level. The paper offers suggestions on the important features and direction of the law in this area.The analysis leads to several conclusions regarding the developing legislation. Central counterparty clearing and margin requirements are important regulatory initiatives to mitigate counterparty credit risk, being the key way in which derivatives contribute to systemic risk. Central clearing, however, cannot be relied upon as the primary guard against the spread of systemic risk by derivatives markets. This responsibility should remain in the hands of vigilant regulators. This leads to the key conclusion, being the need for effective management, at the national level, of the systemic risk created by derivatives markets. A robust national regulator would not only have access to real-time trade reporting data but would also monitor movements within defined sectors, like housing for example, to be alert to any risk accumulation within an overheated market. In addition, the analysis concludes that the use of investor sophistication as a regulatory trigger, as currently part of the proposed market conduct rules, is a valuable delimiter of differing levels of required disclosure. The research also concludes that investor sophistication could be a valuable tool to manage the nexus of sophisticated derivatives products entering the retail economy by potentially limiting their availability based on a combination of product complexity and investor sophistication.

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In search of a marriage counsellor : a proposal for strengthening the enforcement of Canadian constitutional conventions as legal rules of political behaviour (2017)

Canada’s constitutional framework consists of both written and unwritten sources. Within the subset of unwritten constitutional sources lies the body of constitutional conventions: rules of political morality that limit the scope of behaviour that would otherwise be legally permitted. Conventions are established by precedents and understood by political actors to be binding upon them. But the orthodox view holds that they are beyond the purview of the legal system and enforceable exclusively within the political realm. This thesis proposes measures for more effective regulation of political behaviour for compliance with constitutional conventions. These proposals are inspired by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announcement in 2014 that he would refrain from advising the Governor General to fill vacancies in the Senate of Canada. By convention, the Governor General only exercises the legal power to appoint Senators on the Prime Minister’s advice. Challenging the constitutionality of the Prime Minister’s conduct therefore implicated constitutional conventions. The author describes a judicial review application brought for this purpose as an illustrative example of the impracticality of litigation to enforce constitutional conventions. Drawing on that experience, he argues that Canadian jurisprudence ought to be renovated to accommodate and accept conventions as legally cognizable and enforceable rules. He further proposes the creation of an independent officer of Parliament accountable for monitoring political behaviour for compliance with constitutional conventions and drawing public attention to situations where conventional rules are breached.

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Publications

  • “A New Perspective on Some Familiar Corporate and Business Law Tools: Review of Sarah Light, ‘The Law of the Corporation as Environmental Law’ (2019) 71 Stanford L Rev 137” (2019)
    Jotwell: The Journal of Things We Like (Lots),
  • A multi-jurisdictional review of legislative and regulatory changes in relation to the banking/commercial separation doctrine, and the business of banking (2019)
    Department of Finance,
  • Thinking Like an Administrative State (2019)
    Verfassungsblog,
  • How Much Do You Really Know About Fraud? Review of Ed Balleisen, Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff (2018)
  • Innovation and the State: Finance, Regulation, and Justice (2018)
    Cambridge Core Blog,
  • The Government’s Plan for Stronger Shareholder Powers Will Make Business Better for Everyone” Op Ed (2018)
    The Financial Post,
  • Has (Financial) Regulation Over the Last Thirty Years Been One Huge Neoliberal Mistake? (2017)
    Oxford Business Law Blog,
  • Innovation and the State (2017)
    Cambridge University Press,
  • Plus ça change: a review of Camden Hutchison, ‘Progressive Era Conception of the Corporation and the Failure of the Federal Chartering Movement’ (2017)
    Jotwell,
  • Remedies in Administrative Law: A Roadmap to a Parallel Legal Universe (2017)
    Administrative Law in Context, 3d ed.,
  • Sedimentary Innovation: How Regulation Should Respond to Incremental Change (2017)
    The Journal of Law and Economics,
  • Concrete Suggestions Around Conflict Minerals and Corporate Supply Chains (2016)
    Jotwell,
  • Rethinking Systemic Risk Regulation after MetLife and Brexit (2016)
    Oxford Business Law Blog,
  • Systemic Risk Regulation in Comparative Perspective (2016)
    Department of Finance,
  • Clayton Christensen Comes to Wall Street: a review of Chris Brummer, "Disruptive Innovation and Securities Regulation" (2015)
    Jotwell,
  • Canadian Securities Regulation (5th Edition) (2014)
    LexisNexis Canada,
  • Drama and Consequence in Accounting Standards Choice (Seriously): a review of Daniel Mügge and Bart Stellinga "The unstable core of global finance: Contingent valuation and governance of international accounting standards" (2014)
    Jotwell,
  • The Problem with Corporate Monitorships (2014)
    The New York Times,
  • Financial Innovation and Flexible Regulation: Destabilizing the Regulatory State (2013)
    North Carolina Banking Institute,
  • Innovation-framing regulation (2013)
    The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,
  • Regulation & Governance announces annual “Best Article” prize winners (2013)
    Regulation & Governance, 7 (1), 1--1
  • A National Systemic Risk Clearinghouse? (2012)
    WHAT NEXT FOR CANADA? SECURITIES REGULATION AFTER THE REFERENCE,
  • A Radical Perspective on the Mundane. a book review of Annelise Riles Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Crisis (2012)
    Jotwell,
  • Dogs and Tails: Remedies in Administrative Law (2012)
    Administrative Law in Context,
  • Prospects for scalability: Relationships and uncertainty in responsive regulation (2012)
    Regulation & Governance, 7 (1), 14--29
  • Regulating Financial Innovation? Review of Niamh Moloney The legacy effects of the financial crisis on regulatory design in the EU (2012)
    The Regulatory Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis,
  • A response to Erik Gerding on making capture work (2011)
    Faculty Lounge Forum: Reforming Financial Reform? held at The Faculty Lounge, Duke University School of Law,
  • Corporate Monitorships and New Governance Regulation: In Theory, in Practice, and in Context (2011)
    Law & Policy, 33 (4), 509--541
  • Introduction to “New Governance and the Business Organization” Special Issue of Law and Policy (2011)
    Law & Policy, 33 (4), 449--458
  • Macro-and Micro-Level Effects on Responsive Financial Regulation (2011)
    University of British Columbia Law Review,
  • The Volcker Rule and the Limits of 'High Politics' (2011)
    Faculty Lounge Forum: Reforming Financial Reform? held at The Faculty Lounge, Duke University School of Law,
  • Tripartism, Regulation & Zeitgeist (2011)
    Faculty Lounge Forum: Reforming Financial Reform? held at The Faculty Lounge, Duke University School of Law,
  • New Governance in the Teeth of Human Frailty: Lessons from Financial Regulation (2010)
    Wisconsin Law Review,
  • New Governance Securities Regulation in Theory and Practice (2010)
    Columbia University,
  • Power Without Property, Still: Unger, Berle, and the Derivatives Revolution (2010)
    Seattle University Law Review,
  • Principles-Based Securities Regulation in the Wake of the Global Financial Crisis (2010)
    McGill Law Journal, 55 (2), 257
  • Smart enforcement: trends and innovations for monitoring, investigating and prosecuting corporate corruption (2009)
    Global Corruption Report 2009, Transparency International,
  • Can Corporate Monitorships Improve Corporate Compliance? (2008)
    Journal of Corporate Law,
  • Corporate Corruption and Reform Undertakings: a New Approach to an Old Problem (2008)
    Cornell International Law Journal,
  • How Should We Teach Securities Regulation in a Fast-Moving World? (2008)
    Canadian Business Law Journal,
  • New Governance, Compliance, and Principles-Based Securities Regulation (2008)
    American Business Law Journal, 45 (1), 1--60
  • Principles-Based Securities Regulation (2008)
    Expert Panel on Securities Regulation, Ministry of Finance. Government of Canada,
  • Toward a New Model for Securities Law Enforcement (2005)
    Administrative Law Review,
  • In Search of the Qualitative Clear Majority: Democratic Experimentalism and the Quebec Secession Reference (2001)
    Alberta Law Review,
  • The Ties That Bind: A Review of Michael Ignatieff's The Rights Revolution (2001)
    Canadian Public Policy,
  • Bright Lines: Status, Recognition and the Elusive Nature of Ageing (1996)
    Appeal,
 
 

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