Professor and Associate Dean, Research and the Legal Profession
B.A. (Alberta); J.D. (Victoria); LL.M. (Columbia); JSD (Columbia)
Office Location: Allard Hall, room 456
Dr. Cristie Ford’s research focuses primarily on regulatory governance as it relates to international, US and Canadian financial and securities regulation. Prior to joining UBC, Professor Ford practiced law at Guild Yule LLP in Vancouver and Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP in New York. She obtained her graduate degrees from Columbia Law School, where she also taught in a variety of capacities.
Professor Ford edited Regulation & Governance from 2012 through 2015 and now sits on its Executive Board, among other editorial and advisory boards. She has served on several occasions as a consultant to the Canadian Department of Finance ,and her work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in some of its leading cases. She has lectured across North America and in Europe, Australia, and Israel. She has been a Killam Faculty Research Fellow at UBC, a Plumer Research Fellow at St. Anne’s, Oxford University; and a Fernand Braudel Senior Research Fellow at the European University Institute. In 2015/2016 she received the faculty’s George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. Professor Ford is Associate Dean, Research and the Legal Profession, as of July 1, 2019.
Research - Selected Work
Dr. Ford’s recent work concerns the relationship between innovation, regulation, and broader social values. The main argument in her book, Innovation and the State: Finance, Regulation, and Justice (Cambridge University Press: 2017), is that the single most profound and significant challenge facing regulation – not only today, but continually – is private sector innovation. Regulation is at the leading edge of politics and policy in ways that we do not always fully grasp. Financial regulation in particular is a crucial site for addressing domination in some of its most embedded and pernicious forms. The book describes a regulatory structure that can identify and respond better to innovation-related destabilization, while also staying attuned to the equality, justice, and fairness concerns that animate regulation in the first place. A summary is here; see book reviews on Penn’s Reg Review and the Modern Law Review. An earlier article in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science sets out the context for this work (with a response by Matthew Desmond).
In related regulatory governance work, Professor Ford has written about responsive regulation and the challenge of “scaling up” (response by John Braithwaite here); about systemic risk regulation, in Canada (with Hardeep Gill) and in comparative perspective; about problems of incrementalism, regulatory capacity, and complexity in the design of financial regulation; about banking regulation and the incursion of fintech and “bigtech” players into banks’ traditional spaces; and (with Carol Liao) about the way in which structured finance has “shattered the atom” of property, with implications for corporate law and legal theory.
Professor Ford is also well-known for her work on principles-based regulation, especially in securities and financial regulation, both before and after the financial crisis. She has written about the limits of focusing on regulatory governance strategies on their own, without considering the “macro” and “micro” contexts within which regulation has to operate.
Professor Ford’s work on deferred prosecution agreements and corporate monitorships grapples with whether it is possible to design systems that can genuinely reform corporate ethical culture. She has considered corporate monitorships from a new governance perspective and, with David Hess from the University of Michigan, evaluated their effectiveness in practice (here, here, and here). See also her views in The New York Times’s Room for Debate page. In related work she has written about administrative law remedies, and novel remedies in the corporate corruption context (for Transparency International).
Dr. Ford is proud to co-author the leading Canadian textbook on securities regulation, with the Honourable David Johnston C.C., and Kathleen Rockwell.