FLJS publishes Policy Brief on regulatory supervision and oversight

05 July 2011

As the judge-led inquiry into the failure of the current system of media regulation is unveiled, the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society is pleased to announce the publication of a policy brief examining the accountability and liability of the regulators.

Dr Chris Decker, Research Director of the Regulatory Policy Institute, Oxford, assesses the recent increase in reviews of various regulators, which, he argues, follow from perceived failures of regulation, as well as the recent political desire to reduce the functions of regulators to an irreducible core and to excise their policymaking functions.

The policy brief is published as part of the FLJS programme on Regulation, Regulators, and the Crisis of Law and Government, which assesses the current weaknesses of the regulatory system, the role of legislative and judicial bodies, and identifies measures for future reform of both markets and regulatory regimes.

Dr Decker assesses the increasing media and public interest in regulatory actions and decision-making, and argues that the purposes, organization, and supervision of regulators determine whether the accountability and liability frameworks are fit for purpose.

The policy brief demonstrates how conflicting regulatory objectives can make regulators targets for political competition, and assesses the communications regulator's statutory duty to further the interests of citizens. Dr Decker advances the theory of 'confirmation bias' to explain recent systematic defective regulatory decision-making and actions, and analyses the pros and cons of judicial scrutiny of regulatory bodies.

The policy brief concludes by calling for a new, broader response to concerns over the effectiveness and accountability of regulatory regimes, including a comprehensive review of the purposes, organization, and oversight of regulators in order to prevent future failures of regulation.

The Purposes, Organization, and Supervision of Regulators: Implications for Accountability and Liability
Dr Christopher Decker