Riz Mokal holds the Chair of Law and Legal Theory at UCL, and is an Academic Member of 3-4 South Square Chambers. He has co-chaired the UCL Colloquium on Legal and Social Philosophy, and is a member of the editorial boards of the Faculty’s Current Legal Problems series, and of the journals International Journal of Law in Context and International Corporate Rescue. He also chaired the UCL Laws Postgraduate Board of Examiners for two years from September 2007. Previously, as a Research Associate at Cambridge University’s Centre for Business Research, he was part of an inter-disciplinary team investigating the relationship between corporate law and economic performance.
Riz has been teaching at the Faculty since October 1996, joined it full-time in March 2001, and was a Reader from 2004 to 2008. He graduated from the Faculty with an LLB in 1996 and a PhD in 2002, and is the recipient of numerous academic prizes, scholarships and awards. He has taught on programmes related to London University’s External LLB, and at Brunel University. Riz has strong interests in film, theatre, food, a good argument, and generally spending time with friends and family, though he also claims to enjoy his research and teaching.
Riz is currently on sabbatical leave and secondment to the World Bank as Senior Counsel and Leader of the Bank’s Insolvency and Creditor Rights Initiative.
Research Riz’s research has covered four broad areas: political and legal philosophy, economic analysis of law, insolvency law, and property. His work in each of these has informed his approach to the others. Three premises underlie his recent research. First, he has moved from contractarianism to methodological contractualism. Both contractarianism and contractualism hold that it is a fruitful way of determining the legitimate entitlements of parties to ask to what they would have consented in an appropriately defined hypothetical bargain. The contractualist bargain is to be regarded as motivated, however, not by mutual advantage (as in contractarianism), but by considerations of equal mutual respect, and therefore, of reciprocity. In this context, reciprocity requires not making demands of others which, if in the shoes of those others, we ourselves would not or could not reasonably meet. Each of the parties to the hypothetical bargain must be treated as an equal and is thus entitled, in the design of legal rules and institutions, to equal concern for their interests. And each is constructively regarded as being moved to abide by fair terms of cooperation amongst equals, as long as each other party to the bargain is also moved in the same way. Secondly, Riz distinguishes between the law’s substantive and its procedural goals. Substantive goals are those (like justice, fairness and equality) the pursuit by some part of the law of which confers ultimate value, and thus, legitimacy on that part of the law. Procedural goals become relevant in recognition of the fact that no scheme for the achievement of substantive goals may be operationalised and maintained costlessly, and that, given the scarcity of social resources, the more resources that are consumed in pursuit of one such scheme, the less that will be available for other valuable purposes. And third, Riz draws on transaction cost economics to provide an understanding of efficiency focused on the minimisation of the sum of coordination and motivation costs, or in short, of waste.
In this systematic and methodologically self-aware manner, Riz’s research combines concern with moral values like justice and equality with instrumental attention to economic efficiency. This framework has proved fruitful in analysing the fundamental structure of the laws of insolvency and property, and of their details; in the analysis of the minutiae of case law; and in charting the proper development of new chapters of statutory law.
Publications The abstracts and 'working paper' versions of several of the following can be found on the Social Science Research Network, at the URL:
Corporate Insolvency Law – Theory and Application (Oxford: OUP, 2005)
Rizwaan Jameel Mokal and Daniel Lightman, ‘Duties and Liabilities of Administrators’, in Sir Gavin Lightman, Gabriel Moss, Ian Fletcher and Richard Snowden QC (eds.), The Law of Receivers and Administrators of Companies (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2007)
Daniel Lightman and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘Duties and Liabilities of Administrative Receivers, in Sir Gavin Lightman, Gabriel Moss, Ian Fletcher and Richard Snowden QC (eds.), The Law of Receivers and Administrators of Companies (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2007)
Robin Dicker QC, Adam Goodison, and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘Voluntary Arrangements (Companies)’, in Peter Totty and Gabriel Moss (eds.), Insolvency (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2005)
‘The Floating Charge – An Elegy’, in Sarah Worthington (ed), Commercial Law and Commercial Practice (Oxford: Hart, 2003), 479-509
‘What Liquidation Does for Secured Creditors, and What it Does for You’ (2008) 71(5) Modern Law Review 699
'At the Intersection of Property and Insolvency' (2008) 20 Singapore Academy of Law Journal 495
'Encumbered Assets and the Statutory Trust' (2008) 21(9) Insolvency Intelligence 129
Look Chan Ho and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘Barber v CI: Preference Equals Undervalue?” (2006) 22(5) Insolvency Law & Practice 183-186; arguments discussed in the Court of Appeal, and approved obiter by Lady Justice Smith, in Re Sonatacus Ltd  EWCA Civ 31
Michael Crystal QC and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘The Valuation of Distressed Companies: A Conceptual Framework – Part II’ (2006) 3(3) International Corporate Rescue 123-131
Michael Crystal QC and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘The Valuation of Distressed Companies: A Conceptual Framework – Part I’ (2006) 3(2) International Corporate Rescue 63-68
Stephen Atherton QC and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘Charges over Chattels – Issues in the Fixed/Floating Jurisprudence’  Company Lawyer 10-18; cited by Lord Walker in Re Spectrum Plus Ltd; National Westminster Bank plc v Spectrum Plus Ltd and others  UKHL 41
Rizwaan Jameel Mokal and Look Chan Ho, ‘The Pari Passu Principle in English Ancillary Proceedings: Re Home Insurance Company’ (2005) 21(6) Insolvency Law & Practice 207-210
‘Administrative Receivership and Administration – An Analysis”  Current Legal Problems 355-392
John Armour and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘Reforming the Governance of Corporate Rescue: The Enterprise Act 2002’  Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 28-64
‘Liquidation Expenses and Floating Charges — The Separate Funds Fallacy’  Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 387-404; reprinted at (2005) 21(2) Insolvency Law & Practice 46-55
‘The Harm Done by Administrative Receivership’ (2004) 1(5) International Corporate Rescue 248-256
Rizwaan Jameel Mokal and John Armour, ‘The New UK Corporate Rescue Procedure — The Administrator’s Duty to Act Rationally’ (2004) 1(3) International Corporate Rescue 136-142
‘Interplay of Administration, Liquidation, and CVA – Part II’ (2004) 25(2) Company Lawyer 35-40
Look Chan Ho and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘Interplay of Administration, Liquidation, and CVA – Part I’ (2004) 25(1) Company Lawyer 3-8
‘On Fairness and Efficiency’  Modern Law Review 452-467
‘The Search for Someone to Save: A Defensive Case for the Priority of Secured Credit’  Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 687-728
'Priority as Pathology: The Pari Passu Myth’  Cambridge Law Journal 581-621; a central argument approved and adopted by Kirby J (dissenting, though not on this point) in the High Court of Australia in International Air Transport Association v Ansett Australia Holdings Limited  HCA 3. Several of the arguments in this paper were also approved and adopted by the majority of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria in Ansett Australia Holdings v International Air Transport Association  VSCA 242
Rizwaan Jameel Mokal and Look Chan Ho, ‘Characterisation, Consideration, Evaluation: Transactions at an Undervalue After Phillips v Brewin Dolphin’  Journal of Corporate Law Studies 359-379
Look Chan Ho and Rizwaan Jameel Mokal, ‘Blowing Hot and Cold: Phillips v Brewin Dolphin’ (2001) 6 Journal of International Banking and Financial Law 263-266
‘An Agency Cost Analysis of the Wrongful Trading Provisions: Redistribution, Perverse Incentives, and the Creditors’ Bargain’  Cambridge Law Journal 335-369; excerpts in Grantham and Rickett, ‘Company and Securities Law: Commentary and Materials’ (Wellington: Brookers, 2002), 584-7
'Resolving the MS Fashions ‘Paradox’’  Company Financial and Insolvency Law Review 106-113
Other publications :
Letsas, G., Mokal,R. (2007), End of a Golden Era? An Interview with Prof. Ronald Dworkin – UCL Laws Newsletter. Series edited by Dyson, J., Penfold, L., Schofield, P.
Mokal, R. (2007), An Interview with Dawn Oliver – UCL Laws Newsletter. Series edited by Dyson, J., Penfold, L., Schofield, P.
Mokal, R. (2006), Making Law Work: An Interview with Jeffrey Jowell QC – UCL Laws Newsletter. Series edited by Dyson, J., Penfold, L., Schofield,P.
Mokal, R. (2005), A True Renaissance Man: An Interview with Andrew Lewis – UCL Laws Newsletter. Series edited by Dyson, J., Penfold, L., Schofield,P.
Mokal, R. (2004), Law Cases, Wine Cases, and the Case of Mistaken Identity: An Interview with Rodney Austin – UCL Laws Newsletter. Series edited by Dyson, J., Penfold, L., Schofield, P.
Mokal, R. (2003), A Man for All Seasons: An Interview with Michael Freeman – UCL Laws Newsletter. Series edited by Dyson, J., Penfold, L., Schofield, P.