Money today is different to money even a decade ago. The use of cash is declining, many non-bank companies provide payment systems (usually digital), and “cryptocurriencies” have been launched that are claimed to work as the new money.
But what is money? Intellectual vertigo has been said to grip those who ask this question. Indeed, it seems to lead only to more questions: Is money just what we use to pay for things? Is it important to define the “genus” or should we rather focus on the different “species” of money and how they operate—cash, commercial bank deposits, “e-money’, and now (possibly) “virtual currencies”? Is money in one society different to another, or does a universal and ahistorical core of properties of money exist across place and time? What is the conventional wisdom surrounding money in Economics and Law? How do technological changes disrupt those stories?
Dr Jason Grant Allen is a legal theorist investigating the future of money and the interaction of law and technology more broadly. He collaborates with an eminent network of collaborators across Europe and the UK, Australasia, and North America, currently under two funded projects based at QMUL and the HU Berlin respectively. His work is interdisciplinary and comparative, drawing on the resources of social ontology, embracing Civilian and common law legal systems (albeit with a strong focus on the latter), and re-evaluating the interaction of law and economics as disciplines interested in the same phenomenon.
Jason’s work has a strong focus on the way that technology changes the law—both by demanding a response to novel forms of social action, and also by affording the legal system itself new tools and modalities. Jason’s expertise straddles the “public” and “private” law divide, building on his work in constitutional theory to integrate core private law questions (such as property rights in money) and core public law questions (such as the role of central banks in money creation or the concept of monetary sovereignty).
Jason speaks regularly on his topics of expertise. In the past year, he has spoken at a number of international conferences and seminars at institutions including the University of Oxford, Sciences Po, HEC Paris, the Jagellonian University, the University of Edinburgh, the London School of Economics, Queen Mary University of London, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies London, the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, and the Bank of England. Jason has recently provided thought leadership for the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on the impact of “virtual currencies” in the Eurosystem and the Stock Exchange of Thailand on the digitisation of financial assets.
Dr Jason Grant Allen is currently based in Berlin, Germany, where he is a Senior Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society and a Fellow and Lecturer in English Law at the Humboldt University of Berlin Centre for British Studies. Jason holds a fractional appointment at the Queen Mary University of London Centre for Commercial Law Studies. Jason is an Adjunct Lecturer in the UTAS Faculty of Law, and holds appointments at a number of other institutions (see below).
Jason read for a combined BA & LLB at UTAS, graduating with First Class Honours in Law and a German BA major in 2007. Thereafter, Jason read for the New York State Bar Exam in July 2008, passing with a scaled MBE score of 163.7. Concerned by the Global Financial Crisis unfolding on Wall Street while he was in New York, Jason to read for a Masters in International Economic Law at the University of Augsburg as a DAAD Scholar, where he wrote a thesis on the (then new) German Debt Securities Act of 2009 and worked as a part-time legal assistant at a Munich insolvency practice.
This experience proved to be formative—Jason met his wife, Stefanie, in Augsburg and also developed a preoccupation with organisation of groups and the accountability of group organs that has characterised his work to date.
Jason undertook a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice with the College of Law Australia and undertook a qualifying traineeship at the Tasmanian Environmental Defenders Office in Hobart in 2010.
Jason is a loud and proud young adult cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at the age of 28—just weeks after receiving a PhD scholarship offer from Cambridge. At the time, Jason was tutoring Contract Law and Trust Law at UTAS. Jason deferred his Cambridge offer for 12 months of aggressive treatment. The UTAS Law Faculty was very supportive through this difficult time and this is one of the reasons that Jason maintains such an active connection with his alma mater.
Jason commenced his Cambridge studies as a Poynton Scholar at Darwin College in January 2013 and submitted his thesis on time (given a one-year extension on medical grounds) in January 2017. While at Cambridge, Jason was a Managing Editor of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (now the Cambridge Journal of International Law) and was a member of the Cambridge Social Ontology Group.
Jason served as the Judicial Assistant to the Right Honourable Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales, for the 2016-2017 judicial year. Thereafter he took up a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Humboldt University of Berlin Centre for British Studies as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in August 2017, leading to his current work. Together with Dr Tully Rector of the Free University of Berlin, Jason convened the Berlin Social Ontology Group in mid-2018.
|Degree||Title of Thesis||University||Country||Awarded|
Doctor of Philosophy (Law)
Constitutional Authority and Judicial Review: Ultra Vires and the Common Law
University of Cambridge
Master of Laws
Trust and Consent as Bases of Political Legitimacy
University of Tasmania
Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice
College of Law
Master of Laws
The Collective Rights and Representation of Bondholders in Australian, German, and US Law
University of Augsburg
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Hons 1st)
University of Tasmania
Memberships, Appointments, and Professional Qualifications
Jason is a Senior Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, a Fellow and Lecturer at the Humboldt University of Berlin Centre for British Studies, an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Tasmania Faculty of Law, a Researcher at the QMUL CCLS, a Visiting Fellow at the UNSW Faculty of Law, and is an Affiliated Researcher with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.
Jason is a member of the Academic Research Panel for Blackstone Chambers (London).
Jason is a member of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law, the European Law Institute, the Royal Africa Society, and the Society of Legal Scholars.
Jason was admitted as an Attorney and Counsellor-at-Law of the Supreme Court of New York in 2009 and as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Tasmania (Australian Lawyer) in 2011 (currently non-practising).
Scholarships and Awards
Jason has received a number of scholarships and awards, including a UTAS Overseas Scholarship for an exchange semester at the Karl-Franzens University Graz (2005) (partial travel), a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship for Post-Graduates of All Disciplines (2009-2010) (full travel, maintenance, and tuition), an Australian Post-Graduate Award (2010-2012) (full maintenance), a UTAS Burke Scholarship (2013), and a Cambridge Australia Trust Poynton Scholarship (2013-2017) (full travel, maintenance, and tuition).
Since completion of his PhD, Jason has secured a competitive post-doctoral fellowship and has been successful in attracting significant third-party research funding.
Teaching and Supervision
Jason currently teaches modules on the English Legal System in the interdisciplinary MA in British Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin Centre for British Studies, and supervises MA theses on the English Legal and Political System. Previously, Jason has taught Contract Law and Trust Law at the UTAS Faculty of Law, has supervised in the Equity Tripos as Gonville & Caius College in the University of Cambridge, and has designed and delivered an intensive course in English Company Law at the Universität Osnabrück.
The focus of Jason’s research is on the changes to the legal conception of money in the 21st century, with particular emphasis on those brought about by the changing technology we use to create and use money. This brings him into broader issues in law and technology, including so-called FinTech, RegTech, LegalTech, etc.
Jason’s work is currently structured by two funded projects. Jason is Joint Principal Investigator with Professor Gerhard Dannemann on a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft-funded research project on the life and work of émigré jurist Dr F.A. Mann (24 months, commencing January 2020). The two P.I.s will lead a group of 25 Cooperation Partners around the world and organise a series of workshops to culminate in an edited volume on Mann’s contribution to English, European, and international law. The Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt) and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (London) are Institutional Cooperation Partners on the project. A legal polymath, Mann is renowned for his contribution to many areas of law. But perhaps his most impressive achievement was The Legal Aspect of Money, first published in 1938, just three years after Mann fled Nazi persecution for London. The book, now in its 8th Edition under the editorship of Dr Charles Proctor, is widely regarded as canonical. Jason will lead a sub-group working on the law of money while Professor Dannemann will lead groups working on the remainder of Mann’s substantial contributions to English, German, and International law. The legal, economic, and technological landscape in which money operates changed dramatically over the course of the 20th century, and it is changing perhaps faster today. Jason’s aim in this project is to identify how Mann responded—or refused to respond—to these changes, and what challenges the 21st century raises for conventional legal conceptions of money like Mann’s.
Jason is also a Co-Investigator on a project entitled “Legal and Economic Conceptions of Money” under the umbrella of the Economic and Social Research Council-funded project “Rebuilding Macroeconomics” housed at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (12 months from September 2019). With Principal Investigator Professor Rosa Maria Lastra at the Queen Mary University of London Centre for Commercial Law Studies and Co-Investigators Mr Simon Gleeson (Partner, Clifford Chance UK), Dr Michael Kumhof (Senior Research Economist, Bank of England), Professor Saule Omarova (Cornell), and Dr David Adolfatto (Senior Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), Jason will investigate what methodological impulses law might give to macroeconomists thinking about the changing nature of money—again, with regard to technological changes in the way that money is made and used.
Besides these two projects, Jason continues to work on the concept of office in both public law and private law contexts (e.g. state officials, company directors). He is converting his Cambridge thesis into a monograph slated for publication in 2020. Jason is translating the first volume of Professor Christian von Bar’s treatise Gemeineuropäisches Sachenrecht as Common European Property Law, slated for publication in 2020. Jason is Special Editor for a Special Edition of the Journal of Law, Information and Science on the legal implications of so-called “smart contracts”, also slated for publication in 2020.
Fields of Research
- Constitutional Law (180108)
- Commercial and Contract Law (180105)
- Law (180199)
- Property Law (excl. Intellectual Property Law) (180124)
- Legal Theory, Jurisprudence and Legal Interpretation (180122)
- Law and Society (180119)
- Environmental and Natural Resources Law (180111)
- Corporations and Associations Law (180109)
- Equity and Trusts Law (180112)
- Comparative Law (180106)
- Labour Law (180118)
- Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies (970118)
- Justice and the Law (940499)
- Expanding Knowledge in Economics (970114)
- Law, Politics and Community Services (949999)
Journal Article(16 outputs)
|2019||Allen JG, 'Property in digital coins', European Property Law Journal, 8, (1) pp. 64 - 101. ISSN 2190-8273 (2019) [Refereed Article]|
|2019||Allen JG, 'Negotiability in digital environments', Butterworths journal of international banking and financial law, (July/August) pp. 459 - 463. ISSN 0269-2694 (2019) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]|
|2019||Lastra RM, Allen JG, 'Virtual currencies in the Eurosystem: challenges ahead', The International Lawyer, 52, (2) pp. 176-232. ISSN 0020-7810 (2019) [Refereed Article]|
|2018||Allen JG, 'Wrapped and stacked: smart contracts' and the interaction of natural and formal language', European Review of Contract Law, 14, (4) pp. 307-343. ISSN 1614-9939 (2018) [Refereed Article]|
|2018||Allen JG, 'The office of the Crown', The Cambridge Law Journal, 77, (2) pp. 298-320. ISSN 1469-2139 (2018) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 2
|2017||Allen JG, 'Encyclopaedia, genealogy and tradition in pursuit of pluralist jurisprudence', Transnational Legal Theory, 8, (4) pp. 399-406. ISSN 2041-4005 (2017) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1
|2016||Allen JG, 'Jurisdiction and Devolution Issues', The UK Supreme Court Yearbook, Volume 6, Legal Year 2014-2015 pp. 320 - 331. (2016) [Letter or Note in Journal]|
|2015||Allen JG, 'Germany's refugee lawyers and Anglo-German comparative law', Anglo-German Law Journal, 1, (2015) pp. 5-37. (2015) [Refereed Article]|
|2014||Allen JG, 'CJICL Symposium on Transitional Constitutionalism', 3, (4) pp. 1098-1348. ISSN 2398-9173 (2014) [Edited Journal]|
|2014||Allen JG, 'What is transitional constitutionalism and how should we study it?', Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law, 3, (4) pp. 1098-1112. (2014) [Letter or Note in Journal]|
|2013||Allen Jason, Griggs LD, Prichard JP, 'A Workplace Drug Testing Act for Australia', University of Queensland Law Journal, 32, (2) pp. 219-235. ISSN 0083-4041 (2013) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Griggs LD; Prichard JP
|2011||Allen JG, 'More than a matter of trust: the German Debt Securities Act 2009 in international perspective', Capital Markets Law Journal, 7, (1) pp. 55-85. ISSN 1750-7219 (2011) [Refereed Article]|
|2011||Allen JG, 'Salus Populi Suprema Lex: Justifying Compulsory Mineral Leases in the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 (Tas)', University of Tasmania Law Review, 30, (1) pp. 1-31. ISSN 0082-2108 (2011) [Refereed Article]|
|2010||Allen J, 'Group Consent and the Nature of Group Belonging: Genomics, Race and Indigenous Rights', Journal of Law and Information Science, 20, (2) pp. 28-59. ISSN 0729-1485 (2010) [Refereed Article]|
|2010||Allen J, Hocking BA, 'Unlocking the Alienation: A Comparative Role for Alien Torts Legislation in Post-Colonial Reparations Claims?', Human Rights Review, 11, (2) pp. 247-276. ISSN 1524-8879 (2010) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Hocking BA
|2010||Hocking BA, Guy S, Allen J, 'Three Sorries and You're In? Does the Prime Minister's Statement in the Australian Federal Parliament Presage Federal Constitutional Recognition and Reparations?', Human Rights Review, 11, (1) pp. 105-134. ISSN 1524-8879 (2010) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 2
Co-authors: Hocking BA
|2018||Allen JG, 'Vinx, Lars, The Guardian of the Constitution: Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt on the Limits of Constitutional Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, ix + 296pp, hb 67.00', The Modern Law Review, 81, (2) pp. 361-364. (2018) [Review Single Work]|
|2017||Allen JG, 'Fiduciary Obligations: 40th Anniversary Republication with Additional Essays. By P.D. Finn [Sydney: Federation Press, 2016. xlix + 397 pp. ISBN 978-1-76002-077-4.] - Finn's Law: An Australian Justice. By Tim Bonyhady (ed.) [Sydney: Federation Press, 2016. xvii + 244 pp. Hardback 84.99. ISBN 978-1-76002-080-4.] - Contract, Status, and Fiduciary Law. By Paul B. Miller and Andrew S. Gold (eds.) [Oxford University Press, 2016. xi + 331 pp. ISBN 978-0-19877-919-3.]', The Cambridge Law Journal, 76, (2) pp. 444-449. (2017) [Review Several Works]|
|2016||Allen JG, 'David Fox and Wolfgang Ernst (eds), The History of Money in the Western Legal Tradition: Middle Ages to Bretton Woods, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, xxviii + 892 pp, hb 125.00', The Modern Law Review, 79, (4) pp. 730-733. ISSN 0026-7961 (2016) [Review Single Work]|
|2016||Allen JG, 'Magna Carta and Its Modern Legacy. By Robert Hazell and James Melton (eds.) [Cambridge University Press, 2015. xi 272 pp. Paperback 22.99. ISBN 978-1-107-53310-3.], 75', The Cambridge Law Journal, 75, (2) pp. 426-443. (2016) [Review Single Work]|
Citations: Web of Science - 1
|2011||Allen JG, 'One Nation Under Surveillance: A New Social Contract to Defend Freedom Without Sacrificing Liberty Simon Chesterman Oxford University Press (2011) ISBN 978-0-19-958037-8 Hardback, xii/297 pgs', Journal of Law, Information and Science, 21, (1) pp. 189-197. ISSN 0729-1485 (2011) [Review Single Work]|
|2017||Allen JG, 'Constitutional Authority and Judicial Review: A Common Law Theory of Ultra Vires' (2017) [PhD]|
|2013||Allen JG, 'Consent and Loyalty as Bases of Legitimate Political Authority' (2013) [Masters Research]|
|2010||Allen JG, 'Bondholder Rights and Representation in Australia, Germany and the United States' (2010) [Masters Research]|
Other Public Output(3 outputs)
|2019||Blandin A, Cloots AS, Hussain H, Rauchs M, Saleuddin R, et al., 'Global Cryptoasset Regulatory Landscape Study', Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, United Kingdom (2019) [Report Other]|
|2018||Lastra RM, Allen JG, 'Virtual currencies in the Eurosystem: challenges ahead', Monetary Dialogue, European Union, Brussels, Belgium, July (2018) [Government or Industry Research]|
|2017||Allen J, 'FAQ: Brexit and Devolution Post-Miller', British Institute of International and Comparative Law, United Kingdom, pp. 1-5. (2017) [Internal Newsletter]|
Grants & Funding
Number of grants
- Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft ($1,030,668)
- Individual Research Grants (Sachbeihilfe)
- Administered By
- Humboldt University of Berlin
- Research Team
- Dannemann G; Allen JG
- 2020 - 2022
- Economic and Social Research Council UK ($92,119)
- Project Sub-Grant RM02 under Main Grant ES/R00787X/1 Rebuilding Macroeconomics to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (London)
- Administered By
- Queen Mary University London Centre for Commercial Law Studies
- Research Team
- Allen JG; Andolfatto D; Gleeson S; Kumhof M; Lastra RM; Omarova ST
- Humboldt University of Berlin ($14,904)
- Senior Visiting Fellowship
- Administered By
- Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society
- Research Team
- Allen JG
- Alexander von Humboldt Foundation ($125,517)
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship
- Administered By
- Humboldt University of Berlin Centre for British Studies
- Research Team
- Allen JG
- 2017 - 2018