‘Private Meta-Regulation’

We’re delighted to welcome Colin Scott (University College Dublin) to the university today (Friday 24th October). Colin will be attending the UEA Law School Seminar Series, where he will presenting his paper on ‘Private Meta-Regulation‘ which he has co-authored with Fabrizio Cafaggi (SNA and EUI). An abstract for their paper can be found below and further information on the project (including policy briefs and case studies) can be found at the website for the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law.


Meta-regulation, the steering or regulation of self-regulation, is increasingly recognised to be an important part of state capacity to harness private regulatory capacity and to govern indirectly. New research on transnational private regulation suggests that the potential of meta-regulation is not limited to the pursuit by the state of the public interest objectives which it defines. Rather we see the emergence of meta-regulatory regimes in which the state is not a significant actor, and within which the mechanisms for asserting meta-regulation are not the hierarchical capacity of the state to impose, but rather the social and market mechanisms associated with other modes of ordering. The reasons for the emergence of such private meta-regulation are explored. These include the need to respond to fragmented regulation, market and social pressures to demonstrate enhanced legitimacy and effectiveness of private regulation, and a wish to address the consequences of competition between regulatory regimes.

In this paper we analyse the modes through which meta-regulation is established, in some instances through membership organisations, using contractual methods, but in other instances without a basis in membership and contract. Related to this we look at how, in the absence of state involvement, meta-regulatory requirements are made binding and how this affects the variety of instruments deployed in particular sectors.  Thus the paper supplements the idea that state capacity is central to meta-regulation showing that there are social and competitive reasons underpinning the establishment of non-state meta-regulatory regimes and offering an analysis of the conditions underpinning the emergence of such regimes and their prospects for success.

The paper raises further questions for discussion. These include an exploration of the mechanisms through which legitimacy and effectiveness of such private meta-regulatory regimes is assured and whether some standard template might be developed to permit meta-regulators to demonstrate compliance with certain basic principles. It also raises the question whether governmental or inter-governmental bodies might have a role in steering of meta-regulation, as appears to have happened in the case of advertising in the EU (meta-meta-regulation).


The seminar will take place from 10:00-11:00 in Earlham Hall, Room 1.07.

About CCP
The Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) conducts interdisciplinary research into competition policy and regulation.

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