Challenges of Regulation and Meta-Regulation in

Contemporary Governance

Colin Scott

Professor of EU Regulation & Governance

Principal, UCD College of Social Science and Law

15:20 to 16:30, October 28th, 2015

Room127, School of Government

Host:Prof. LI Qiang,School of Government

Professor Colin Scott

Colin Scott is Principal, UCD College of Social Sciences and Law and Professor of EU Regulation & Governance. He studied law at the London School of Economics and at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Prior to his appointment at UCD in April 2006 he lectured at the University of Warwick and at the London School of Economics. Between 2001 and 2003 he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. He was a research associate of the ESRC Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR), based at the London School of Economics from 2000-2010. He was Director of the UCD Centre for Regulation and Governance, from 2010-2013. He is a co-author of the Irish State Administration Database (2010). He was Programme Chair of ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance Biennial Conference, 'Regulation in the Age of Crisis', held in Dublin in June 2010. He is a co-editor of Legal Studies and has previously held editorial responsibilities with Law & Policy and the Modern Law Review. He was a Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges, from 2006-2009 where he taught on the interdisciplinary masters on European Law and Economic Analysis (ELEA). He was Vice Principal for Research and Innovation for the UCD College of Business and Law between 2006 and 2009 and Associate Dean of the UCD School of Law from 2010-2011 and Dean of Law at UCD, 2011-2014. He is married with two children, one born in London in 1998 and the other in Canberra in 2002

Abstract of the Lecture

The use of regulatory institutions and instruments has been a boom area in contemporary governance. While this trend has been led within the OECD countries, it has become increasingly significant in other jurisdictions also. For some this trend is indicated by the growth in public bodies established at armslength from government departments to monitor and enforce compliance with rules. However the prioritization of regulatory agencies as indicators of regulatory growth is problematic for a number of reasons. First, distinctively regulatory forms of governance, involving the setting, monitoring and enforcement of rules, can be led by other forms of public body, notably central government ministries and local government bodies, but with the qualification that regulation within these settings is less likely to be insulated from political considerations. Second, there is considerable scepticism about the effectiveness of depending on public bodies for taking on regulatory functions. At national level public priorities can leave gaps where coordination or reputational requirements might suggest regulation could be effective. Conversely tendencies towards ratcheting of public regulation may be counterproductive or at least disproportionate for the effects to be achieved. When we consider international and transnational markets, public regulation can create barriers to trade where too stringent, and gaps in protection where it is insufficient, as with environmental and labour rights regimes in some developing countries. These gaps are often filled by market actors and/or non-governmental organisations, sometimes working with governmental or intergovernmental bodies. The International Labour Organisation provides one of numerous examples of such complementary public and private action, and there are equally many largely private transnational regulatory regimes. The complexity of the regulatory environments emerging from these pressures raise the question as to what is the role of governmental and intergovernmental bodies. I suggest in this paper that if governmental action is not capable or likely to provide the complete set of appropriate mechanisms for setting, monitoring and enforcing compliance with rules, then governments should conceive of their roles in different ways. In some cases this might mean using different kinds of instruments such as those based on incentives or nudges. In other instances this might suggest governments take on a monitoring role over private regimes such that they can offer approvals or steering to better align private regulation to public purposes. In some instances the need for meta-regulatory steering is not being met by governments with the consequences regimes of private meta-regulation are emerging to supply the necessary credibility for private regimes to be successful in the market place. These trends provide a significant challenge to conceptions of regulation and the regulatory state, and also the balance between public and private actions in regulatory regimes.

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