Manchester Journal of International Economic Law
Volume 7, Issue 1: 1, 2010
Communication Flows in International Economic Law
The global financial crisis has placed the IMF at the centre of international focus as the leading international economic organisation able to respond to the crisis. Thus the IMF’s role in identifying the crisis, in preventing the crisis and in responding to the crisis has been the subject of some recent scrutiny. In this respect the General Counsel of the IMF in a recent paper has rightly observed that in the financial sphere the IMF currently suffers from a blind spot. This arises as a consequence of the fact that IMF surveillance exercises are rooted in a mandate that is focused on international monetary concerns and only on domestic financial institutions and regulation to the extent that these have an impact on domestic and international monetary issues in the sense of the traditional preoccupations of the IMF viz., stable exchange rates, exchange controls, balance of payments equilibrium, and the supply of liquidity. Moreover, the IMF does not have the mandate to engage directly with domestic financial institutions.
Whilst this limited interpretation of the IMF’s mandate has to be correct it does betray a somewhat different approach to questions of IMF jurisdiction in the sphere of surveillance and finance, both of which in the context of the global financial crisis relate to the IMF’s relationship with its developed constituency. In contrast the IMF Articles of Agreement have been the subject of a fairly teleological approach to interpretation with respect to IMF Conditionality. Certainly the late Sir Joseph Gold and former General Counsel of the IMF not only pushed for the teleological approach to interpretation but went as far as to suggest that the practice of the IMF itself can inform its interpretation. A practice alas in the financial sector did not eventuate. Blind spots thus like ‘Peeping Toms’ can be driven by levels of curiosity!
Asif H Qureshi
 See Paper approved by Sean Hagan titled ‘The Fund’s Mandate – The Legal Framework’, 22nd February 2010, available at http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2010/022210.pdf.