UCL News


Government accepts UCL professor's findings on business regulation

21 December 2006

A report by Professor Richard Macrory, UCL Laws, on how to improve the sanctions available to business regulators, has had all its conclusions accepted by the UK government.

Professor Richard Macrory

Professor Macrory was commissioned by the government in September 2005 to lead a comprehensive review of regulatory sanctions. The review dealt with a number of regulatory areas including the environment, health and safety, food standards and consumer protection.

Published at the end of November this year, the report, 'Regulatory Justice: Making Sanctions Effective', argues that a wider range of sanctions needs to be available to regulators. Currently, regulators are often forced to rely on criminal prosecution in instances of regulatory non-compliance, which can be disproportionate and have proved ineffective as an economic deterrent.

Professor Macrory said: "A flexible and transparent set of regulatory sanctions will reduce the burden on legitimate business by dealing effectively with the rogues and reducing the need for inspection. Criminal prosecution has an important role to play but regulators need the flexibility to deal with individual cases appropriately. In some cases rogues find it cheaper to ignore regulations and take the penalty than comply. These proposals will end this situation."

The report proposes a toolkit of administrative penalties for regulators to promote and enforce regulatory compliance. These include schemes for restorative justice, where parties affected by regulatory non-compliance can come together to address the harm and prevent recurrence. It also calls for increased monetary penalties and stronger statutory notices to work alongside criminal law in dealing with non-compliance.

To find out more about business regulation and the Macrory report, follow the link at the bottom of this article.

Image: Professor Richard Macrory