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tough talk on financial regulation from hector sants June 24, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation , comments closed

After the announcement that the UK’s financial regulatory system is to be reorganized (again), Hector Sants responded forcefully today:

We will not be deflected from delivering much needed policy reforms such as the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). Furthermore, firms should recognise that our intensive supervisory approach will continue into the new organisational framework.
… we are entering a period of substantial change in the European regulatory environment and it is vitally important that the UK fully engages with these changes. We must recognise that going forward, particularly in respect of supervision, the national entities will increasingly become an arm of European policy and thus, effective engagement with the European agencies is absolutely critical.
.. no doubt as we move out of this crisis there will be calls for regulators to revert to light touch regulation, and senior management will be less willing to listen to a regulator who could be seen to be ‘second guessing’ management. When this happens it is vitally important that regulators stand their ground and continue to be proactive, but this will require that they are supported by government and society as a whole.

travels June 24, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : events , comments closed

Just got back from Europe where I went to the ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance conference on Regulation in the Age of Crisis. Some of the papers are available online (including my own preliminary paper on consultation in transnational standard-setting), and an edited version of Mick Moran’s after dinner critique of the Great Complacency is here.

why this picture? June 8, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : truth , comments closed

The Guardian’s current picture of Cameron makes him look particularly obnoxious (and not very intelligent):


back to the noughties June 4, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : regulation , comments closed

Business Secretary Vince Cable:

The deluge of new regulations has been choking off enterprise for too long. We must move away from the view that the only way to solve problems is to regulate.
The Government has wide-ranging social and ecological goals including protecting consumers and protecting the environment. This requires increased social responsibility on the part of businesses and individuals.

Old rhetoric (even if the press notice tries to present this as new), a new challenge group, and a new reducing Regulation Committee (described oddly in the press notice as a new Cabinet “Star Chamber”) but will the policy on regulation change very much?

liability for malicious falsehood under english law June 2, 2010

Posted by Bradley in : consumers , comments closed

As the UK Parliament begins to consider changing the law relating to libel as a result of the introduction of Lord Lester’s Bill last week, the Court of Appeal holds that in a claim for malicious falsehood (as opposed to a claim for libel) a statement that is capable of more than one meaning is not subject to a rule that it has only one right meaning. Lord Justice Sedley stated:

…On the judge’s unchallenged findings, the meanings which reasonable consumers might put on Asda’s health-food packaging include both the damaging and the innocuous. Why should the law not move on to proof of malice in relation to the damaging meaning and (if malice is proved) the consequential damage without artificially pruning the facts so as to presume the very thing — a single meaning – that the judge has found not to be the case?
I do not accept that doing this will make trials of malicious falsehood claims unwieldy or over-complex. This is not because these claims are always tried by a judge alone: the experience of common law judges is that juries are on the whole very good at assimilating and applying sometimes complicated directions. It is because it makes the trial of the issues fairer and more realistic. Instead of (as here) denying any remedy to a claimant whose business has been injured in the eyes of some consumers on the illogical ground that it has not been injured in the eyes of others, or alternatively … giving such a claimant a clear run to judgment when in the eyes of many customers the words have done it no harm, trial of plural meanings permits the damaging effect of the words to be put in perspective and both malice and (if it comes to it) damage to be more realistically gauged.

The decision rejects the artificiality of identifying one meaning for words that may be interpreted by readers in different ways and puts the emphasis on the question of malice.