Law

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Documents

The European Economic Area Agreement: a short introduction

Our aim in this paper is to explain and comment on some of the principal features and implications of the European Economic Area Agreement (EEAA). A number of misunderstandings about the content and operation of the Agreement appear to have made their way into public discourse in the UK. We are concerned about the distorting effect of these, not only on public perceptions, but also potentially on the Government’s position. Our hope is that this paper may help inform a more considered debate about the UK’s Brexit destination.

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Essays in Regulation

Brexit and the single market

The UK is currently a Contracting Party to the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, and exit from the EU does not necessarily imply exit from the Single Market (i.e. withdrawal from the Agreement). Exit from the EEA would require that extra steps be taken, either unilaterally by the UK or by the other Contracting Parties to the Agreement.
There is no explicit provision in the Agreement for the UK to cease to be a Contracting Party other than by unilateral, voluntary withdrawal, which requires simply the giving of twelve months’ notice in writing (Article 127). A commonly held assumption that only EU and EFTA members can be Parties to the EEA Agreement – and hence that the UK has to be a member of one or other of these two organisations to be in the Single Market – is not well grounded, although UK consideration of an application for EFTA membership is an option well worth exploring in its own right.

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Letters and Notes

Heuristics and biases in regulatory decision making

In his thought provoking note Applying behavioural economics at the Regulatory Conduct
Authority, 2 Stephen Littlechild has drawn attention to an important set of questions about the
use of behavioural economics in regulation. The Regulatory Conduct Authority of the paper’s
title is an imaginary agency that made a brief, Brigadoon-like appearance on 1 April 2014. Its
hypothetical purpose is to make use of behavioural economics in regulating other regulators.

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Research Reports

Understanding barriers to entry, exit and changes to the structure of regulated legal firms: Summary and main conclusions

Entry, exit and firm restructuring are important aspects of the ability of any market to respond and adapt to changing circumstances. The capacity to respond and adapt relatively quickly – often referred to as flexibility – is important for the effective performance of a market, particularly in periods of substantial change.

The study is concerned chiefly with barriers to entry, exit and ‘mobility’ (which includes business restructuring such as a merger) that may be caused or exacerbated by regulatory requirements, with particular reference to the barriers facing small solicitors’ practices

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Research Reports

Understanding barriers to entry, exit and changes to the structure of regulated legal firms: Full report

The Regulatory Policy Institute was commissioned by the Legal Services Board (LSB), supported by the Law Society, to undertake a study of possible barriers to (a) entry, (b) exit, and (c) changes in the business structures of regulated solicitors’ firms/practices in England and Wales; and the findings of this study are set out in what follows. The focus of the work is, as was requested, on small solicitors’ practices, with particular attention given to the consideration of barriers to change that might either be caused or exacerbated by current regulatory arrangements, or that might be amenable to reduction via modification of those arrangements.

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Documents

Is it possible to serve more than one master? Regulatory issues where there are multiple regulatory mechanisms

Where it is plainly in the public interest, there can be multiple regulatory mechanisms that do not imperil the independence of the regulator. To achieve the goal of alignment of achievement of shared objectives, protocols or MOUs, government guidance to independent regulators are often the most transparent and efficient way of promoting the interests of the consumer.

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New Series

On the discovery and assessment of economic evidence in competition law

Assessment of economic data/information/evidence in more or less any context can raise difficult issues. Compared with the testing of hypotheses and theories in the physical sciences, there is much less ability to make use of controlled, repeated/repeatable experiments; and the resulting limitations are often reinforced by the complexity of the relationships and interactions that are involved in the determination of economic outcomes. This complexity necessarily leads to high degrees of uncertainty, particularly (though by no means exclusively) uncertainty about the future.

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