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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Dr Jason Allen, LLM



Fellow and Researcher






Jason’s activity at the GBZ

Jason is an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow at the GBZ, where he is researching the law of money with a special focus on (i) the seminal text of Berlin emigre F.A. Mann, The Legal Aspect of Money (1st Edition OUP 1938, 7th Edition OUP 2012) and (ii) the impact of digital payment systems (including ‘distributed ledger technology’ and ‘blockchain') on conventional monetary law. He is a Visiting Fellow at the UNSW Centre for Law Markets and Regulation (with Prof. Ross Buckley) and an Adjunct Research Fellow at his alma mater, the University of Tasmania.


Jason read law and German at the University of Tasmania (2002-2007), graduating with first class honours in Law. He then read for the NY Bar Examination (2008) before undertaking an LLM in International Economic Law at the Universität Augsburg (2009-2010) as a DAAD Post-Graduate Scholar. Jason qualified as an Australian Lawyer (2011) following a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (2010). He read for a PhD in Legal Theory at Darwin College in the University of Cambridge as a Poynton Scholar (2013-2016). His dissertation, supervised by Prof. T.R.S. Allan, examined the judicial review of the non-statutory powers of the British Crown. Following submission of his dissertation, Jason served as the Judicial Assistant to the Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales, Sir Geoffrey Vos, during the 2016-2017 judicial year.

Jason has tutored Contract Law and the Law of Trusts at the University of Tasmania, has supervised in the Equity Tripos at Gonville and Caius’ College in the University of Cambridge, has designed and delivered a course on English Company law at the Universität Osnabrück, and is teaching Constitutional Law in the GBZ masters’ degree programme.

Jason’s shtick

Jason’s research took an ‘ontological turn’ during his PhD when he faced the complex task of explaining the juristic nature of the British Crown. His interest in the construction of legal entities—from trusts to corporations to states and governments and now to units of money—lends a methodological coherence to investigations that span a range of topics in public law and private law. A loose acolyte of the Berkeley School of social ontology, Jason participated in the Cambridge Social Ontology Group during 2015-2016 and works most closely in the legal theoretical tradition of Neil MacCormick, i.e. marrying elements of Hartian and Kelsenian positivism, Scandinavian Realism, and Searleian social ontology. As social reality becomes increasingly mediated by technological processes, Jason’s research has naturally veered towards the interface between law and technology. Although a common lawyer by training and inclination, Jason is a native comparatist and enjoys bridging the common law/civilian divide.

Current projects

Jason is thrilled that current developments seem to call for the practical application of legal theory! Jason has recently spoken on the nature of digital tokens to a major international law firm and has consulted the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on the challenges posed by ‘virtual currencies’ to central banks in the Eurosystem (together with Prof. Rosa Lastra of Queen Mary, University of London). Jason is currently collaborating on a landmark international regulatory study of cryptoassets (under the aegis of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the Nomura Research Institute). Jason is available for speaking and consulting on topics in his areas of expertise—in deutscher sowie englischer Sprache.

Besides working on a number of papers on Fintech, Legaltech, and Regtech for publication in recognised international journals, Jason is translating a pioneering volume in comparative private law theory by Prof. Christian von Bar, Gemeineuropäisches Sachenrecht (Beck 2015) as Common European Property Law for the Oxford University Press (forthcoming 2019), and is working to turn his dissertation on constitutional authority and judicial review into a monograph.

On a personal note…

Jason loves living in Kreuzberg with his wife Stefanie, whom he met at university in Augsburg, and their dog Poppy, who accompanied the couple from Cambridge to Berlin. Poppy enjoys the green spaces, dog-friendly office culture, and world-class scrounging in the capital. Jason was fortunate to watch the Miller case in the High Court from the press box in October 2016, and has watched the Brexit trainwreck with dismay ever since. Jason is a young adult cancer survivor (Ewing’s Sarcoma, 2011), and, after years of uncertainty about stigma in the job-market, has decided to be loud and proud about it for the sake of others who are are ‘not out of the woods’. In the wake of public Jew-hatred and other forms of racism in Berlin in recent months, you may see Jason around the GBZ in a very stylish knitted kippah. If you have questions about the complexity of Jewish-German identity in the 21st century, stop him for a chat in the hallway—or make a date for a coffee klotch, as it could take a while. Jason is using his time in Berlin to rediscover the British habit of keeping hobbies after five years in post-Thatcherite Britain, where no-body has time for keeping hobbies. Jason works in his spare time on a FinTech start-up whose mission is to deliver credible financial services to informal and low-income workers underserved by the traditional market. The company plans to launch in West Africa in 2019—you can track its progress at www.millestone.net!