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Announcement of plans for synthetic LIBOR: panacea or pandora’s box?


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John McKendrick QC, Justina Stewart and Chloë Bell write in the latest edition of the Journal of International Banking & Financial Law on potential public law implications of the UK Government’s plans for synthetic LIBOR to address tough legacy contracts.

Plans announced in June 2020 to give the FCA enhanced powers to tackle “tough legacy” LIBOR contracts using “synthetic LIBOR” are intended to apply to a “narrow pool” of contracts.  It is still unclear how such contracts will be defined, whether the pool will in fact be narrow and how precisely the legislation and enhanced FCA powers will operate in relation to such contracts. The reality, however, appears to be the imposition of synthetic LIBOR on parties to “tough legacy” contracts.  As such, the proposed legislation and action by the FCA may be vulnerable to challenge under the Human Rights Act 1998, particularly in the absence of an appropriate compensation mechanism.

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John McKendrick QC practises in all areas of commercial and public law. A former Attorney General, he was appointed to silk at 39 and has since developed a wide ranging leading practice domestically and internationally.

Justina Stewart is a commercial chancery barrister, ranked as a leading junior in banking and finance and insolvency, and appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown. She is a former economist and investment banker.

Chloë Bell is a commercial and public law barrister. She was formerly a judicial assistant to Lord Mance at the United Kingdom Supreme Court and a junior référendaire to Advocate General Bobek at the Court of Justice of the European Union.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this article please contact John, Justina or Chloë directly or via their practice management team: David Smith on (+44 (0)20 7427 4905) or Colin Bunyan on +44 (0)20 7427 4886 for a confidential discussion.


Barristers: John McKendrick QC | Justina Stewart | Chloë Bell
Categories: News