LLD (Melbourne), PhD (UNSW), LLB (Hons) (UQ), BEcon (UQ)
Law and Legal Studies

My work has fallen into three broad categories: (i) the regulatory and legal challenges of the application of technology to finance and to commerce more generally, (ii) the enabling regulation of digital financial services in developing countries, and (iii) systemic global financial regulation, with a focus on the sovereign debt of developing countries.

1. Regulatory and legal challenges of technology: In this field our research has analysed: (a) the historical evolution of FinTech over 150 years, and the regulatory lessons to be drawn therefrom; (b) how the rise of FinTech demands RegTech and how RegTech in turn will demand and underpin a reconceptualization of financial regulation itself; (c) the regulatory challenges associated with the paradigm shift to data-driven finance and how our existing regulatory approaches will be utterly inadequate when tech companies are providing either the customer interface for banks or the primary data on which credit decisions are made; (d) regulatory sandboxes throughout the world and their real impact in supporting FinTech innovation; and (e) the world’s first comprehensive analysis of the legal liabilities associated with distributed ledger technology (blockchain).

2. Regulation of digital financial services: Our research has: (a) analysed how best to protect customer e-money by incorporating a protector into the trust deed or by achieving fund separation and bankruptcy protection when the institution of a trust is not available (our findings are now reflected in the laws and regulations of many countries); (b) produced a comprehensive Regulatory Diagnostic Toolkit to provide a proactive systematic method by which regulators can ensure regulations support the growth of digital financial services so as to promote financial inclusion and reduce poverty; and (c) resulted in detailed reports to, and workshops for, central banks in a range of countries including Malawi, Nepal, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

3. Systemic global financial regulation with a focus on sovereign debt: My research (a) produced the seminal work on the evolution of the secondary market in emerging markets debt; (b) analysed the role, and potential for misuse, of ratio swaps of such debt; (c) identified how the Brady Plan (the principal policy response to the debt crisis of 1982) was crafted not in the US Treasury as commonly believed, but in Brazil and Mexico; and (d) analysed the potential and pitfalls of debt-for-development exchanges. My research on the impact of sovereign debt on the people of Argentina was quoted by Argentina in its brief to the US Supreme Court in a major case. My research on debt-for-development exchanges directly contributed to Australia undertaking its first such exchange with Indonesia, with proceeds used to fight tuberculosis in Indonesia.

KPMG Law -- King & Wood Mallesons Professor of Disruptive Innovation and Law

  1. DA Zetzsche, RP Buckley & DW Arner, “Regulating Libra”, (2021)  41 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 80-113
  2. DA Zetzsche, RP Buckley, DW Arner & L Fohr, "The ICO Gold Rush: It’s a Scam, It’s a Bubble, It’s a Super Challenge for Regulators", (2019) 60 (2) Harvard International Law Journal 267-315
  3. RP Buckley, “Reconceptualizing Global Financial Regulation” (2016) 36(2) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 242-271.
  4. DW Arner, J Barberis and RP Buckley, “The Evolution of FinTech: A New Post-Crisis Paradigm?” (2016) 47 (4) Georgetown Journal of International Law, 1271-1319.
  5. RP Buckley & D Arner, From Crisis to Crisis: The Global Financial System and Regulatory Failure, Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 2011, 1-360. Translated into Chinese and re-published by China University of Political Science and Law Press (CUPL Press), Beijing, 2016.