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Dr Sarah Wilson
LLB (Wales), MA (Wales), PhD
Prior to this, I was a lecturer at the University of Manchester. I have also held academic posts at Keele University, the University of Leeds, and the University of Wales, Swansea. Following my undergraduate studies at Cardiff Law School, I studied history at the University of Wales, Swansea at master’s level and then obtained my PhD in legal responses and social constructions of financial crime from c.1850 to the present.
I would welcome applications from prospectiveresearch students in relation to any of the above fields.
This is a project looking at the regulatory aftermath of the 2007-8 financial crisis generally, and at reconfiguring banking regulation within this. It concentrates on the significance of banking for the UK economy, and also more widely as a social utility, and at how such considerations will influence and inform recasting regulation to make the UK financial system more stable in future, and thus less prone to shocks. In emphasising the importance of law in achieving this, much attention is given to financial crises during the 19th century to consider what they can reveal about the challenges faced and approaches which can be adopted in the 21stin order to promote banking which is ‘socially useful’. In explaining the nature of ‘banker blame’ for financial crises during the 19th century, the project points to how important framing legal responsibility for bankers was to contemporaries determined to respond to banker misconduct, and also determined to avoid the outcome whereby ‘no individual has been found legally responsible for ... failure’ (Lord Adair Turner, FSA Report on the failure of Royal Bank of Scotland, 2011).
This is part of a much larger project being undertaken (with aspects being so jointly with Gary Wilson, The Centre for Business and Insolvency Law, Nottingham Trent University; and also Joanna Gray and TT Arvind, University of Newcastle) on ‘banking and society’, focusing on the importance of financial system resilience, and of policies promoting long-termism in the economy and sustainability across numerous societal agendas.
This project takes as its starting point recent endeavours which have been made to uncover Britain’s history of financial crime, observing that this small but burgeoning cluster of historiography is dominated by contributions from historians of business economy and finance. In a setting where historical interest in financial crime is itself only a relatively recent phenomenon, it is not surprising that interest in ‘crime in the commercial sphere’ (Law Commission) should come from business historians. What is surprising is how little engagement with financial crime there has been from crime historians. This project considers the reasons why crime history has shown relatively little interest in financial crime, and considers why it is of utmost importance for the history of financial crime in modern Britain to become an integral feature of the historiography of ‘crime and society’.
The need for criminology to seek enrichment from history in this way can be found acknowledged in Locker and Godfrey’s submission ((2006) Brit J Criminol) that ‘ ... white collar offending ... has suffered considerable neglect within historical academic discourses...’ and ‘while criminologists have [recognised and debated] ... the topic of white collar crime ... they have significantly overlooked its historical dimensions’. This project joins this together with crime historians’ own recognition of how the shared agendas of crime history and criminology calls for greater discourse between these two disciplines (King (1999) Brit J Criminol), and also historians’ more generalised insistence (drawn particularly from the writings of W H Sewell Jr, 2005 and John Tosh, 2010) that their discipline can make valuable contributions to studies of 'society today' carried out by social scientists. This exploration of how history can contribute to studies in key issues for ‘law and society’ is fashioned from primary research on Victorian reactions to financial crime, and the key historiography of modern Britain drawn from crime history and beyond.
This project looks at trust law governing the creation of trusts in commercial dealings. It has two key starting points: firstly that trusts law is fashioned from two species of rules governing the creation and operation of valid trusts; namely mandatory and default rules (Langbein, 2004); and secondly the apparent popularity of trust arrangements in commercial dealings and relations ordinarily governed by contract. This project looks at so-called mandatory rules which cannot be displaced by those creating trusts, and how they are being applied in a new setting for trust creation. The law relating to private trusts grew up around family arrangements, far removed from the ‘arm’s length’ and profit-centric environs of commerce. With its core ideas clustered around Briggs J’s thoughts on trust creation in Pearson v Lehman Bros , this project tracks the numerous instances where trusts law is becoming increasingly influenced by recourse to trust creation by contracting parties (rather than more traditional familial and interpersonal relations), and considers whether what is actually emerging is a new and distinctive body of trusts law and what the implications of this might be.