How statutory duties shape the decision making of an economic regulator: Insights from the energy regulatory community, past and present

Michael Harker (Lead Author), David Reader

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Abstract

This article is concerned with how statutory duties structure regulatory decisions. Rather than focusing on the role of the courts, we explore statutory interpretation by a regulator as a quasi-autonomous exercise, with external influences and internal norms and customs. To investigate this further, we conducted a series of semi-structured elite interviews with senior members of the energy ‘regulatory community’, past and present. Energy regulation has been selected as a case study due to the controversies in recent years over the legitimate limits of economic regulation, as successive governments have imposed broader public interest goals on the regulator, resulting in a proliferation of statutory objectives. This increased complexity has arguably obscured the appropriate contours and rationales of economic regulation. Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to completely separate regulatory policy and politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-150
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Volume49
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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