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Thursday, 2 November 2023

Francesca Farrington & Narine LalafaryanDr Francesca Farrington and Dr Narine Lalafaryan have been awarded the prestigious Yorke Prize from the University of Cambridge for their PhD theses.

The Yorke Prize, endowed in 1873 by Edmund Yorke, is awarded annually by the Faculty for doctoral theses of "exceptional quality... which make a substantial contribution to a field of legal knowledge".

Dr Farrington who is now a Lecturer in Law at the University of Aberdeen wrote her thesis 'Trust and The Rule of Law: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Relationship between the Rule of Law and Economic Development' drawing on insights from economics, politics, sociology and law. Her thesis ultimately argued that the rule of law is concerned with building a trustworthy government, and as trust is an aspect of social capital it may be considered a moral resource with a link to productive activity.

Responding to the award, Dr Farrington said "I would mainly like to thank my supervisors, Dr Lars Vinx and Dr Sandra Brunnegger, for the time and dedication they put into nurturing me as a scholar. The PhD was as much a product of their efforts as my own. I would further like to thank my examiners, Professor Simon Deakin and Dr Deval Desai (University of Edinburgh), for their positive engagement with my work. It is a real honour to be awarded this prize and I very much look forward to continuing my research at the University of Aberdeen."

Dr Lalafaryan, who joined the Faculty at the start of the current academic year as a University Assistant Professor in Corporate Law, was also awarded the prize for her thesis 'Uncertainty in Debt Finance: Reconceptualising Material Adverse Change Clauses'. Covering unwelcome uncertainties of the future, MAC clauses are typically included in multi-million dollar debt financing, and mergers and acquisitions deals. Yet, MAC clauses are inherently ambiguous and vague. Terminating high-profile deals, that are worth jointly trillions of dollars based on a MAC event, may cost the global financial system a fortune, if not a "life". Dr Lalafaryan's thesis is the first to answer the question whether MAC clauses are efficient in corporate debt financing agreements, examining them under English, Delaware, and New York law.

Dr Lalafaryan said "I am thrilled to have been awarded the Yorke Prize. This research would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my supervisor, Professor Felix Steffek, whose unparalleled mentorship helped me to grow as a scholar and as a person. I was also extremely fortunate to have Professor Louise Gullifer and Professor Marc Moore as my advisors. Their invaluable guidance played an important role in my academic development. It was also an absolute honour to have been examined by Professor Simon Deakin and Sir William (Bill) Blair, and I thank them for the most stimulating and encouraging conversation. My PhD journey was made possible due to The Hogan Lovells Scholarship in partnership with the Cambridge Law Faculty, for which I am very grateful. I also benefited substantially from the Cambridge - Harvard Law School and Cambridge - Max Planck academic exchanges. I am absolutely delighted that my work on MAC clauses is forthcoming as a book with Oxford University Press."