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regulatory budgets and collective action August 8, 2008

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , trackback

In the same week that the UK’s Department for Business published its consultation document on Regulatory Budgets – the latest chapter in the Better Regulation saga – the Civil Justice Council published this week a 483 page document on Improving Access to Justice through Collective Actions’ : A Series of Recommendations to the Lord Chancellor. Collective action is a hot topic in the EU right now. Key Finding 1 of the collective action report is that:

Existing procedure does not provide sufficient or effective access to justice for a wide range of citizens, particularly but not exclusively consumers, small businesses, employees wishing to bring collective or multi-party claims.

But the implications of the BERR consultation document would seem to include making improving access to justice more complex, as it includes discussion of:

how to identify and capture the specific costs arising from regulation (i.e. enforcement activities, self-funding regulations, contractual obligations and legal proceedings) within a system of regulatory budgets

On reading the consultation document I’m not clear whether the costs associated with litigation (as opposed to regulatory action) resulting from regulations would be included in the regulatory budgets. But if they were, any expansion of collective action rights that would make it easier for citizens to enforce their rights would increase the costs of new regulations granting rights to citizens, thus making such regulations less likely in a regulatory budgets environment.

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