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uk deregulation act allows for possibility of severe limits on regulators’ powers March 27, 2015

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , add a comment

Section 108 of the UK’s Deregulation Act 2015 provides that regulators may be required to “have regard to the desirability of promoting economic growth.” What this means is that they must

in particular, consider the importance for the promotion of economic growth of exercising the regulatory function in a way which ensures that—
(a) regulatory action is taken only when it is needed, and (b) any action taken is proportionate.

On the face of it this looks potentially reasonable – it is about encouraging regulators to make sure that regulation is necessary and proportionate (of course regulation should be proportionate and why would you ever want unnecessary regulation). But it isn’t clear how these terms are going to be interpreted, or whether the number of potential targets for this approach is small or large (for some concerns, see here). The provision has the potential to cause significant harm to all of the interests regulation is supposed to protect – and this is even before the TTIP regulatory cooperation measures are used to limit regulation. The UK can do it all on its own.

new paper March 6, 2015

Posted by Bradley in : financial regulation , add a comment

I have been working on this paper on Changing Perceptions of Systemic Risk in Financial Regulation.

online reviews and endorsements – consultation February 27, 2015

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The UK Competition and Markets Authority is “inviting views from consumers, businesses and other interested parties on the use of online reviews and endorsements.” The Call for Information states that the concern which motivates the review relates to the trustworthiness and impartiality of some information in reviews and endorsements and says:

This is a fact-finding exercise to increase our knowledge and understanding. It will look at a range of online reviews and endorsements that are accessed by UK consumers, including those on web blogs, video blogs, social media, specialist review sites, trusted trader sites, retail platforms, and retailers’ own websites. It will also look at the roles that media companies, online reputation managers and search engine optimisers play in helping businesses to promote their products/services and manage their reputations in relation to these sites.

There are a number of different forms for submission of views. Bloggers are asked to use the blogger form and members of the public are asked to respond via a Respond online link or using the consumer form. I guess bloggers aren’t members of the public.

more eu transparency January 8, 2015

Posted by Bradley in : transparency , 1 comment so far

European Commission publishes TTIP legal texts as part of transparency initiative.

eu commission transparency November 19, 2014

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A step in the right direction:

As of 1 December 2014, all Members of the Commission are expected to make public on the Commission’s website all contacts and meetings held with stakeholders and lobbyists.

world toilet day November 19, 2014

Posted by Bradley in : inequality , add a comment

According to a WHO/UNICEF Report:

The good news is that since 1990 well over 2 billion people have gained access to improved sources of drinking water, and 116 countries have met the MDG target for water. Almost 2 billion people gained access to improved sanitation and 77 countries have met the MDG target. More than half the world’s population, almost 4 billion people, now enjoy the highest level of water access: a piped water connection at their homes.
But much remains to be done. More than 700 million people still lack ready access to improved sources of drinking water; nearly half are in sub-Saharan Africa. More than one third of the global population – some 2.5 billion people — do not use an improved sanitation facility, and of these 1 billion people still practice open defecation.

on not sounding too good to be true… November 13, 2014

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Investors who used the search term “secure investment” seemingly found their way to a website at secureinvestment.com which “acknowledged that currency trading was risky” – and it was.

how can we tell what is too good to be true? November 13, 2014

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Financial regulators try to help people make good decisions bout their money by encouraging them to focus on whether what they were being offered was too good to be true or not. I think any scheme that calls itself a “Profits Paradise” (a scheme operated from India, although designed to appear to be American) sounds too good to be true. It isn’t clear from the SEC’s announcement how many people responded to the rich promises by investing, although the SEC Order states that “By mid-January 14, 2014, the Website had more than 4,000 visits each day, including more than 200 U.S. visits.” The fact that the SEC published an investor alert alongside the press release suggests that the SEC thinks that people need to be reminded to be careful about investing. But if this scheme didn’t scream “too good to be true” what would?

rule of law and politics November 11, 2014

Posted by Bradley in : eu , add a comment

THe EU’s Court of Justice held in Elisabeta Dano, Florin Dano v Jobcenter Leipzig (Case C-333/13) that EU rules on social security schemes do not prohibit Member States from excluding

nationals of other Member States… from entitlement to certain ‘special non-contributory cash benefits’ … although those benefits are granted to nationals of the host Member State who are in the same situation, in so far as those nationals of other Member States do not have a right of residence under Directive 2004/38 in the host Member State.

Ms Dano, a Romanian national, and her son, had been living in Leipzig with Ms Dano’s sister. She challenged a denial of non-contributory benefits. The Court noted the general principle of non-discrimination but that a particular derogation in the relevant EU rules:

it must be pointed out that, whilst Article 24(1) of Directive 2004/38 and Article 4 of Regulation No 883/2004 reiterate the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of nationality, Article 24(2) of that directive contains a derogation from the principle of non-discrimination.
Under Article 24(2) of Directive 2004/38, the host Member State is not obliged to confer entitlement to social assistance during the first three months of residence or, where appropriate, the period of seeking employment, referred to in Article 14(4)(b) of the directive, that extends beyond that first period, nor is it obliged, prior to acquisition of the right of permanent residence, to grant maintenance aid for studies to persons other than workers, self-employed persons, persons who retain such status and members of their families.
It is apparent from the documents before the Court that Ms Dano has been residing in Germany for more than three months, that she is not seeking employment and that she did not enter Germany in order to work. She therefore does not fall within the scope ratione personae of Article 24(2) of Directive 2004/38.

Ms Dano had been in Germany for more than three months but less than five years. In these circumstances the Court said:

To accept that persons who do not have a right of residence under Directive 2004/38 may claim entitlement to social benefits under the same conditions as those applicable to nationals of the host Member State would run counter to an objective of the directive, set out in recital 10 in its preamble, namely preventing Union citizens who are nationals of other Member States from becoming an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State…. the applicants do not have sufficient resources and thus cannot claim a right of residence in the host Member State under Directive 2004/38. Therefore…they cannot invoke the principle of non-discrimination in Article 24(1) of the directive.

In the UK, where migration within the EU is a hot topic, Cameron said he would be looking closely at the judgment to see what he could do with it. The sort of careful parsing of the rules illustrated by the judgment isn’t inevitably what we see from the Court of Justice, but in an environment where concerns about immigration threaten the stability of the EU it isn’t surprising to see a careful rather than an ambitious approach to interpretation of the requirements of EU law.

is there a connection between advertising and rule-breaking? November 8, 2014

Posted by Bradley in : compliance , add a comment

This Lexus Ad suggests to me that there may be. The voiceover begins:

Limits are there to be shattered. Barriers are meant to be broken. Lines are drawn to be crossed