Academic journal article The George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics

Current Legal Issues Affecting Central Banking

Academic journal article The George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics

Current Legal Issues Affecting Central Banking

Article excerpt

Current Legal Issues Affecting Central Banking, edited by Robert C. Effros. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 1994. Pp. 466. $42.50 (hardcover).



In 1988 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sponsored a seminar program for the legal advisors of the central banks of the IMF member states on legal issues affecting central banking.l The seminar provided the participants with the opportunity to listen to a series of learned discourses from practitioners, law professors, and government officials involved in the creation, implementation, and review of national and international banking and development policy. The seminar proved so successful that it has since become a regular IMF activity, convening every other year in Washington, D.C.

In 1992 the IMF published the text of the lectures and commentary presented at the 1988 seminar as compiled and edited by Robert C. Effros, assistant general counsel for legislation at the IMF and seminar coordinator.2 The volume was immediately recognized as a significant contribution to the field by central banking practitioners.

In May 1994, the IMF, with Effros again as editor, published the lectures and commentary of the second seminar for central bank legal advisors held in 1990.3 That publication is the subject of this Review.4

Effros and the IMF have done a commendable job providing lawyers working in the banking and international development field with a highly useful and multifaceted reference. Aside from the papers presented by the seminar lecturers and commentators, the volume contains appendices setting out the seminal international and national legislation on money laundering, credit transfers, solvency ratios, and other areas of critical concern in the international banking field.5 Almost equally important are the short biographies of the contributors set out in the final pages of the work.6 These serve as a "who's who" in the international banking legal community for bankers, public officials, and other attorneys looking for experts in the area.7 Finally, Effros has prepared footnotes for each of the lectures to assist scholars wishing to consult primary sources and conduct additional research in the field.

There can be no doubt that international banking and monetary regulation is one of the most dynamic and salient issues in international law today. Since 1990, when the material for this work was compiled, there has been an explosion of interest and advancement in this field.8 This gives rise to a legitimate question: Whether this work is too outdated to be of interest or use to the current practitioner. The answer must be a categorical "no." The issues treated in the text-money laundering, bank secrecy, the proper balance between regulation and competition, electronic bank transfers, international banks as promoters of private sector development, the elimination of obstacles to the integration of commercial and investment banking in the United States, the use of debtequity swaps in the privatization process, and the replacement of the government safety net (e.g., deposit insurance) with increased supervision-are all hotly debated concerns in the international community today. Not one of these issues is fully resolved. Therefore, the policy concerns and analyses presented by the contributors to this work are, for the most part, as valid today as they were five years ago. The essays in the work that have been superseded, in whole or in part by legislative developments, remain useful for their historical value. They help legal practitioners and scholars understand where we have been, and where we may be moving, in our attempts to harness international and national banking regulation and practices to the economic and democratic development process.


A. Activities of Public International Financial Institutions The work begins with several articles covering the activities of major international financial institutions (IFIs). …

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