Frank Partnoy


The distinction between specific concrete rules and general abstract principles has engaged legal theorists for decades. This rules–principles distinction has also become increasingly important in corporate and securities law, as well as financial market regulation. This Article adds two important variables to the rules–principles debate: timing and source. Although these two variables are relevant to legal theory generally, the specific goal here is not to address and engage the rules versus principles literature directly. Rather, the goal here is to ask whether the debate about financial market regulation might benefit from a more transparent analysis of temporal and legal source variables. This Article does not seek to comprehensively answer the central questions about the optimal regulatory approach in financial markets, but instead, it poses a new way to ask those questions.