Dr Virág Blazsek

Dr Virág Blazsek

Profile

I joined the University of Leeds School of Law faculty in 2021. I earned Jur. dr., LLM, SJD and PhD in Law degrees in the U.S. and Hungary. I also studied Commercial Law, International Law, and EU Law at the University of Girona School of Law, Spain for two semesters. Further, I served as a DAAD scholar at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and I was a Thomas Buergenthal scholar at the George Washington University School of Law, Washington, DC. I came back to academia after a decade of law practice. My scholarship is focused on financial stability-related legal, regulatory, institutional, and policy issues from a comparative perspective. I am the author of the book, Banking Bailout Law: A Comparative Study of the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union (Routledge U.S. & U.K., 2020), which is based on my defended doctoral dissertation. I have been a visiting researcher, visiting scholar, and visiting lecturer at Fordham University School of Law, Columbia Law School, and the Budapest Business School. Earlier, I worked at prestigious law firms, including at Winston & Strawn’s Paris Office on international investment arbitration matters, and mostly as an in-house counsel and manager before, during, and in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis at a market-leading financial institution’s Legal Directorate in Budapest. Before joining the faculty in Leeds, I worked as an attorney on the legal support of global investments and operations at the Office of Investment Management of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund in New York, NY. I regularly serve as ad hoc reviewer for law and economics journals and publishers. I have worked in various research projects in the U.S., the U.K., the EU, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Hungary.

Research interests

My research to date has encompassed the following issues: legal-regulatory responses to the 2008 global financial crisis in the U.S. and the EU, the comparative analysis of the bank bailouts in the U.S., U.K., the EU, Spain and Hungary, the role of constitutional public debt-ceiling and public finances-related provisions in the post-2008 legal framework, and the state aid and antitrust aspects of bank bailouts. My book, BANKING BAILOUT LAW: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE UNITED STATES, UNITED KINGDOM AND THE EUROPEAN UNION (ROUTLEDGE U.K. & U.S., 2020), addresses the timely subject of banking bailout law, investigating the question of “what went wrong with the European bank bailouts” after the 2008 financial crisis, and asking how bailouts could be regulated and conducted more successfully in the future. It examines the different bank bailout and resolution techniques and tools through carefully selected case studies from the U.S., the EU, the U.K., Spain and Hungary. The pros and cons of the different legal and regulatory options are identified in order to reconstruct a regulatory framework that might better serve countries in future financial crises. According to one of the reviewers, a chief strengths of the book is the construction of several useful analytical frameworks, the creation of the set of guiding principles, the systematization of bailout ‘building blocks’ and the ‘effectiveness’ criteria. The overall argument of the book is that regulators should put in place reasonable bailout rules ex ante rather than sticking their heads in the sand. Recently, I published two blog posts related to my book in Columbia Law School’s Blue Sky Blog (https://clsbluesky.law.columbia.edu/2020/10/22/banking-bailout-law/) and Duke University School of Law’s FinReg Blog (https://sites.law.duke.edu/thefinregblog/2021/04/01/a-comparative-comment-on-the-banking-bailout-literature/).

Prior to my doctoral studies, I worked on a variety of legal issues and developed legal compliance curriculum related to housing mortgages, state-subsidized housing loans, consumer protection and antitrust. My master’s thesis (published monograph), THE 2009 CREDIT CARD INTERCHANGE FEE DECISION OF THE HUNGARIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY: A COMPARATIVE CASE STUDY (LAP LAMBERT ACADEMIC PUBLISHING, GERMANY, 2011), built upon my previous work as an in-house counsel in the bank card interchange fee proceedings of the Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA). I compared and analyzed the decision of the HCA with the relevant Visa and MasterCard decisions of the European Commission, the competition authority of the EU. I acquired a deeper understanding of the bank card industry, two-sided markets, and the crucial importance of economic analysis in antitrust matters.

Earlier I participated in three major comparative legal research projects, all of which culminated in book contributions in Remedies in Contract Law in Europe (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., forthcoming), in Security Rights and the European Insolvency Regulation (Chapter 8. Central and Eastern European Systems - Hungary, Poland and Lithuania) (Intersentia Publishing House, Cambridge, U.K., 2017) and in Estate Planning (in Hungarian) (Közjegyzői Akadémia Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary, 2015).

My article, The European Aspects of Global Financial Developments (11 J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L. 233, 2018), focuses on three key issues; Europe’s post-2008 bank bailouts and its consequential sovereign-debt crisis, the role of the international credit rating agencies, and the EU’s major recent regulatory developments related to the financial sector. Some of the EU’s post-2008 reforms -- such as stress testing, stricter prudential requirements, and enhanced consumer protection -- have been in line with international regulatory tendencies. But that slow and expensive decision-making, member states’ failure to compromise on fundamental issues, and misguided rules for bank resolution and supervision have harmed the EU’s global competitiveness.

My article, Sovereign Debt-ceiling Rules in the Spanish and Hungarian Constitutions and their Interplay with the Relevant EU Laws (International Conference on Trade, Business, Economics and Law Proceedings, St. Anne’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, U.K., 2015) builds upon the existing literature on the constitutional dimension of financial crises, and applies those findings to the context of Spain and Hungary. In particular, it focuses on the constitutional debt-ceiling rules and interprets the Spanish and Hungarian developments not only as a response to the requirements set out on a supranational level, but also as part of the post-crisis architecture of economic governance and the forming bank union.

In my other article, titled A Comparative Analysis of the Bad Asset Management Companies of Spain and Hungary: the Devil is in the Details (Queen Mary Law Journal Volume 8: Conference Issue, London, U.K., 2016), I argue that the creation of bad banks may have had positive short-term effects, such as the enhanced protection of investors’ and shareholders’ interests, and the promotion of the banking system’s stability, yet, in the long-term, bad banks may increase sovereign debt and contribute to economic instability.

During the 2008 financial crisis, the European Commission temporarily deflected from the EU’s antitrust laws in order to allow the rescue of the “too big to fail” banks. My article, Competition Law and State Aid for Failing Banks in the European Union and its Specific Implications for Central and Eastern European Member States (Yearbook of Antitrust and Regulatory Studies, vol. 9(14), Warsaw, Poland, 2016), concludes that bank bailouts led to different effects on market structure and consumer welfare in the EU’s Eurozone and non-Eurozone areas and may have distorted the common market inadvertently.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Qualifications

  • Certificate in Excellence in Teaching in Higher Education
  • PhD in Law and Jur. dr., Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary)
  • SJD and LLM in International Business Law, Central European University (Budapest, Hungary)
  • LLM in Business and Finance Law, George Washington University (Washington, DC)
  • LLM in U.S. and Global Business Law, Suffolk University (Boston, MA)

Student education

I currently teach Contract Law, Commercial Law, and International Banking Law modules.

I supervise 10 undergraduate (LLB) long dissertations and 10 postgraduate (Masters in Law & Finance) dissertations.

As an Academic Personal Tutor, I mentor and support 31 undergraduate (LLB) students.

Previously, I served as a visiting assistant professor at Budapest Business School, where I taught two interdisciplinary banking law courses for master’s students. During my doctoral training, I organised and held various doctoral seminars, visiting professor seminars, designed and taught a full course on computer-based legal research, drafted syllabi and taught one section of a WTO-GATT Law module. In the past three years, I have been invited to hold visiting seminars and lectures on my recently published book and other business law subjects at Hult Business School (Boston, MA), Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), Central European University (Budapest and Vienna), the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain), and Corvinus University (Budapest).

Skill-building is a significant part of legal education. Coming back to academia after having practiced law for ten years enables me to assist students in skill-building in an authentic way; students get many chances throughout my courses to improve their relevant skills, such as thoroughness, problem-solving and analytical skills. Innovative teaching methods such as blended learning are especially efficient in this respect; combining classroom learning with the usage of a variety of online teaching tools is great because it is so flexible and blended
environments can help facilitate learning as digital surfaces enable a more customized instruction, support and feedback for students. Online tools enable to form learning communities which multiplies the available information too.

In the area of social sciences, one needs to be innovative, interdisciplinary, and comparative. Separating any legal issue from its economic and social context is artificial. Legal-regulatory changes in the financial sector have been turbulent in the past decade or so, and similar tendencies can be predicted. Therefore, innovative and interdisciplinary approach in the legal education is a must in order to meet the needs of the job market. Coming from a region which has been in dynamic legal-economic transition in the past twenty-five years enables me to understand the post-2008 legal developments in banking more profoundly and in their global context. Having studied macro- and micro-economics, taxation, accounting, sociology, philosophy, and psychology during my legal studies enables me to apply a truly interdisciplinary approach in teaching. Having gained experience in different education systems as a student allowed me to reflect on their attributes which also shaped my teaching philosophy.