RegNet Research Paper Series Vol. 4, No. 5

Author/s (editor/s):

Burgis-Kasthala, Michelle
Drahos, Peter
Downie, Christian
Healy, Judith
Walton, Merrilyn
Braithwaite, Valerie

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

RegNet Research Paper No. 2016/113

How Should International Lawyers Study Islamic Law and Its Contribution to International Law?

Michelle Burgis-Kasthala, School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University (ANU)

This paper advocates dialogue between typically Eurocentric histories of international law with those of Islamic law by surveying recent critical histories of International Law along with a survey of Islamic legal scholarship.

RegNet Research Paper No. 2016/114

Regulatory Unilateralism: Arguments for Going it Alone on Climate Change

Peter Drahos, School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University (ANU), Christian Downie, University of New South Wales

Climate change is a collective action problem that has often been analysed as a Prisoner’s Dilemma. States have an incentive to free ride on the efforts of others. Yet around the globe national and sub-national governments are introducing regulatory measures to reduce emissions that can be fairly characterised as unilateral actions. The US and China, the world’s two largest emitters, are at the forefront. Indeed the evidence of states beginning to depart from business-as-usual behaviour raises the possibility that the characterizations of climate change as a Prisoner’s Dilemma may apply less strongly to the problem and that something else may be starting to happen. Accordingly, this paper considers:

(i) to what extent nations are taking unilateral action to address climate change; and

(ii) in the context of climate change, which is considered one of the greatest global collective action problems the world has faced, what are the possible economic explanations for nations to act in a unilateral fashion and what are the normative reasons for doing so.

We justify regulatory unilateralism on economic, geopolitical and moral grounds, and argue that regulatory unilateralism may offer the best hope of triggering a race to cut emissions. A race rather than prolonged negotiations is what is required at this moment in climate history.

RegNet Research Paper No. 2016/115

Health Ombudsmen in Polycentric Regulatory Fields: England, New Zealand, and Australia

Judith Healy, School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University (ANU), Merrilyn Walton, University of Sydney - School of Public Health

Health ombudsmen (health complaints commissioners), an unusual entity internationally, exist only in England, New Zealand, and the Australian states and territories. Established to respond to complaints from patients, the intention is to make health services and professionals more accountable to the public. Most cases are handled around the softer base of a regulatory pyramid, such as advice to complainants and requests to providers for an explanation and/or apology. Few cases escalate to investigations and prosecutions. Although the legal powers of some health ombudsmen to redress individual grievances have been strengthened, most lack the independent power to initiate an inquiry into systemic problems. To produce quality improvements, health ombudsmen need powers to require compliance from providers and to initiate inquiries. With the advent of new health sector regulators, health ombudsmen must negotiate their role and function within expanding networks of governance.

RegNet Research Paper No. 2016/116

Transforming a Race to the Bottom to a Ladder to the Top: Regulatory Support for Excellence in Australian VET

Valerie Braithwaite, School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University (ANU)

Vocational education and training once held a proud place in Australia’s education system, providing opportunity along a less academically and more practically oriented path. While interest in and need for vocational education and training has not lost currency, the sector has been drawn into a downward reputational spiral. Reforms have been introduced in abundance to reverse the problems of VET, but instead have contributed to loss of status and scandal after scandal. At the heart of the debilitation of the VET sector has been lack of respect for and support for teaching professionalism in the reform process. Industry and government domination over what was to be taught in VET was intended to create opportunity through growth and jobs, but domination is bound to be doomed when the guardians of delivery and quality are not engaged professionally in the process. In these circumstances, a market methodology is likely to attract markets in ‘bads’ that repeatedly dislodge markets in ‘goods’. Regulation also faces a difficult challenge when it is overlayed on a market where there is deep and persistent internal conflict over the values of the sector. Delivery of quality education and training is much touted, but a schism sits below this mantra. The sector divides in its commitment to professional educators and to the aspiration of being a quality education provider in a highly stratified tertiary sector.

Cite the publication as

RegNet Research Paper Series Vol. 4, No. 5, 2016. School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet