Professor Sol Picciotto
Impact and Visibility
Emeritus Professor of Law
Sol’s research interests lie in the areas of international economic and business law and regulation, especially tax and regulatory avoidance and the ‘offshore’ system, and intellectual property rights.
Sol’s book Regulating Global Corporate Capitalism was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. The book was the result of a three year research programme, begun in September 2004, which was supported by a research fellowship from the Economic and Social Research Council, and a year’s study leave from Lancaster University. The book analyses how multi-level networked governance has superseded the liberal system of interdependent states, focusing ‘[o]n the role of law in mediating power and shows how lawyers have shaped the main features of capitalism, especially the transnational corporation. It covers the main institutions regulating the world economy, including the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO and a myriad of other bodies, and introduces the reader to key regulatory arenas: corporate governance, competition policy, investment protection, anti-corruption rules, corporate codes and corporate liability, international taxation, avoidance and evasion and the campaign to combat them, the offshore finance system, international financial regulation and its contribution to the financial crisis, trade rules and their interaction with standards especially for food safety and environmental protection, the regulation of key services (telecommunications and finance), intellectual property and the tensions between exclusive private rights and emergent forms of common and collective property in knowledge’ (cambridge.org).
International Tax and Regulatory Avoidance and the ‘offshore system’
Sol wrote a chapter, 'Offshore: The State as Legal Fiction', in Mark P. Hampton and Jason P. Abbott (eds.) Offshore Finance Centres and Tax Havens. The Rise of Global Capital (Macmillan 1999). Sol's book International Business Taxation was published in 1992.
Sol has also written a number of journal articles on this area of his research. The complete list can be found on Sol's research profile.
Intellectual property rights
Sol has written a number of book chapters and journal articles on this area of his research. The complete list can be found on Sol's research profile, and includes:
'Whose Molecule Is It Anyway? Private and Social Perspectives on Intellectual Property', (with D.I. Campbell) in New perspectives on property law, obligations and restitution. A. Hudson (ed). (2003) London, Cavendish: 279-303. (also published in Brazil in Portuguese).
'Copyright Licensing: The Case of Higher Education Photocopying in the UK.' (2002) European Intellectual Property Review 9: 438-447.
'Defending the Public Interest in TRIPS and the WTO', in Global Intellectual Property Rights. P. Drahos and R. Mayne (eds) (2002) Oxford, Palgrave-Macmillan for Oxfam: 224-243.
Importance of research outside academia
Influencing the work of NGOs:
On the basis of his research on international tax and regulatory avoidance and the ‘offshore system', Sol was an advisor to Oxfam in the writing of their report Tax Havens: Releasing the Hidden Billions for Poverty Eradication (2000).
Influential contributions to campaigns for social, economic, political and/or legal change:
Sol helped to found the Tax Justice Network, for which he has acted as a senior advisor for ten years.
Improved public understanding:
The problem of tax havens and the offshore system has gone from an obscure and specialist issue to a media phenomenon. Sol has contributed to these public debates, especially during and after the financial crisis, for example in letters to The Financial Times and an Opinion piece in that newspaper (5th May 2009: ‘How tax havens helped to create a crisis’). He is frequently consulted by journalists and other communicators on these issues, and has provided advice and research for newspaper articles, radio and TV programmes, and books, for example Nicholas Shaxon’s Treasure Islands (2011).
Informing public debate:
In June 2012, Sol participated in a conference in London on ‘Tax and Transparency’ with many leading specialists from the public and private sector as well as some academics and activists.
In June 2012, Sol participated in a seminar at Copenhagen Business School which was funded by the European Science Foundation.
In June 2012, Sol spoke at a public meeting in the Finnish Parliament on Transfer Pricing: Alternative Methods of Taxation of Multinationals.
Sol is on the Organising Committee of the annual research workshop of the Tax Justice Network, held for the last few years in early July at Essex University.
Improvements to legal and other frameworks for securing intellectual property rights:
Sol has contributed to evidence submitted to various Government inquiries, mainly through the Copyright and Licensing Group of Universities UK, of which he has been a member since 2000, including the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights (2002), Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Property; the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property (2006), the Hargreaves Report (2011) Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, and the current Government consultation on legislation to implement the Hargreaves recommendations.
View Sol's full profile