2016 AJEL 17 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/ajel3 and id is 1 raw text is: 

AJEL  (2016)


17


  THE EVOLUTION OF A MODERN (AND MORE LEGITIMATE) REGULATOR: A CASE STUDY
               OF THE VICTORIAN   ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AUTHORITY

                                    ERIC L WINDHOLZ*

      A growing  body of research establishes that a regulator's legitimacy is important
      to its ability to discharge its regulatory responsibilities, and that regulatory
      compliance  can depend  significantly on people's perception of the legitimacy of
      the regulatory regime and the regulators within it. This makes understanding how
      regulators can  repair  damaged   legitimacy  critically important. This paper
      contributes to this goal: first, by developing a conceptual framework for better
      understanding and  examining  legitimacy's complex nature which  can be used to
      construct and  deconstruct  legitimacy claims;  and  second,  by applying  that
      framework   to examine   the challenges faced   by the  Victorian Environment
      Protection Authority (EPA) to regain legitimacy in the eyes of those it regulates,
      those for whose   benefit it regulates, and government   bodies  with whom it
      partners or interacts in the course of discharging its regulatory responsibilities.
      Through  this case study, the paper contributes to a better understanding of how
      governments,   businesses  and   community   groups   conceive   of  regulatory
      legitimacy, and  the aspects  of official regulatory action  (or inaction) that
      influence their perceptions of regulatory legitimacy.

      Key   Words: Regulation; legitimacy; public value; regulatory practice;
      environment  protection.

                                  I      INTRODUCTION

Legitimacy  has always  been an  important theme  in regulatory discourse. Early legitimacy
debates focused on the circumstances in which the use of power by the state, or by regulators
to which  the state has delegated power, is appropriate, acceptable and accountable.' More
recent legitimacy debates increasingly are focussing on the role legitimacy plays in securing
regulatory compliance.  A   growing  body  of  research has  established that a regulator's

* Senior Lecturer and Associate, Monash Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies, Faculty of Law,
Monash University. The author did not receive funding from any company or organisation towards the conduct
of this research. However, the author would like to thank the Victorian Environment Protection Authority for
their participation in, and support of, this research through making their staff and records available to the author,
and facilitating the author's contact with the persons interviewed.
1 See, eg, Rodney S Barker, Political Legitimacy and the State (Oxford University Press, 1990); David Beetham,
The Legitimation of Power (Humanities Press International, 1991); Robert Baldwin, Rules and Government
(Clarendon Press, 1995); Giandomenico Majone, 'Regulatory Legitimacy' in G Majone (ed), Regulating Europe
(Routledge, 1996) 284; Giandomenico Majone, 'The regulatory state and its legitimacy problems' (1999) 22(1)
West European Politics 1.

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