All posts by Regulatory Institute

Attributing legal personality to nature as an effective means for protection

Nature is increasingly being recognised as a holder of rights both in legislation and in court judgements. The relationship between regulations and nature has usually been one of protection, where regulations focus on prohibiting or regulating activities that pose threats to nature. This howtoregulate article explores the burgeoning regulatory landscape attributing legal personality to nature and suggests other regulatory requirements to strengthen the governance and administrative structure supporting legal personhood of nature. Continue reading Attributing legal personality to nature as an effective means for protection

Using regulation to ensure the well-being of children

Scientific evidence shows that child well-being investment pays off, particularly in early childhood, as those children become adolescents and those adolescents become adults who do well. Such adults have higher employment and earnings, better health, and lower levels of welfare dependence and crime rates than those adults who did not have such investment as children. Regulations, be they legislation or delegated rules, are a critical feature of any state seeking to ensure the well-being of children because it organises in a systematic way the responsibilities, enforcement, the budget and services that allow children to thrive. This howtoregulate explores good examples of child well-being laws from around the world. Continue reading Using regulation to ensure the well-being of children

Regulating online safety and tackling online harms

When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1990, he envisaged a decentralised environment of free exchange of ideas and information. Fast forward to 2019, almost 30 years later, and that online environment has been polluted by disinformation, manipulation, harassment and privacy breaches. The growth of online pollution has prompted various regulatory responses such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation1, Germany’s Network Enforcement Act2, Australia’s Abhorrent Violence Amendment Bill3 and California’s Consumer Privacy Act4, each one responding to an online safety problem. In a world first, however, the UK has signalled it will regulate online safety in a single and coherent way, including creating a statutory duty of care for online safety. This howtoregulate article will analyse the UK’s regulatory approach outlined in its April 2019 Online Harms White Paper, which is open for public consultation until July 2019, and propose ways to improve on regulatory enforcement of online safety. Continue reading Regulating online safety and tackling online harms

Life after death: regulating posthumous reproduction

Regulating posthumous reproduction raises a myriad of bioethical, social, legal and administrative issues, all of which are important in any drafting of regulation on the topic. Very few jurisdictions researched in this howtoregulate article had complete legislation that regulated well the issues that arise from the retrieval of reproductive tissue postmortem and subsequent posthumous use of such tissue. In some jurisdictions researched, the applicable legislation was somewhat dated in comparison to the advances made in artificial reproductive technology (ART) treatment that push the boundaries of the legal parent. This howtoregulate article explores how jurisdictions have regulated posthumous reproduction, citing examples of regulation where they existed and proposing areas requiring clarity. Continue reading Life after death: regulating posthumous reproduction

How to regulate sensitive products when regulatory resources are limited

This howtoregulate article analyses how countries with limited regulatory resources could regulate sensitive products, using the example of medical devices. A key component of regulating such sensitive products is recognising certificates and evaluations from stringent jurisdictions, so that scarce government resources can be focussed on other regulatory activities such as customs control and enforcement. Continue reading How to regulate sensitive products when regulatory resources are limited

Infectious diseases: how to regulate an agile system equipped for the unknown

This howtoregulate article explores the regulation of infectious diseases, an issue of global importance noting that an outbreak from any infectious disease is just a plane ride away. Global climate change has contributed to increases in vector-borne diseasesand zoonotic diseases2, as animals move to populated areas in search of food. The World Health Organisation even has a placeholder for future unknown diseases (Disease X) on its list for determining which diseases and pathogensto prioritise for research. Evidently, effective public health regulations are critical for the effective surveillance, early detection and prevention of infectious diseases. Continue reading Infectious diseases: how to regulate an agile system equipped for the unknown

Regulating Cross Border Services

In today’s globalised world, where markets are increasingly borderless, how does the domestic regulator enforce national objectives in consumer protection, professional standards, taxes and competition? Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to enforce these objectives within the border, imagine across borders, where the language and legal systems are different and, most importantly, there is no own state power of the jurisdiction setting up requirements. Cross-border product enforcement has matured in recent years in line with consumer demand for quality and stricter enforcement through customs and sometimes even postal services. Requirements for cross-border services, however, have been more difficult to enforce due to the variety of channels that services consumers and businesses currently use, particularly digital services. This howtoregulate article focuses on how the regulation of cross-border services could be better enforced so that compliance with service requirements by traders outside of the jurisdiction are similar, or at least not too dissimilar, to those within the regulator’s jurisdiction. Continue reading Regulating Cross Border Services

Regulating alcohol consumption in the absence of a medically determined safe level

According to The Lancet “alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss”1. In fact, it is the seventh leading risk factor globally for mortality and disease finding that “the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero”2. These results suggest that alcohol control policies and regulations that have traditionally focused on “responsible” or “safe” alcohol consumption might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption. Some states (eg. Australia) are currently reviewing their alcohol control regime and with The Lancet’s recent publication more jurisdictions are expected to follow. This howtoregulate article examines the international and national alcohol control regulations to determine good regulatory techniques that could assist states’ reviews of existing regulation. Continue reading Regulating alcohol consumption in the absence of a medically determined safe level

Report on Artificial Intelligence: Part II – outline of future regulation of AI

This Part II of the howtoregulate Report on Artificial Intelligence presents regulatory approaches for minimising the harms of artificial intelligence (AI), evidently without putting into question the utility of AI. What should regulation of AI look like? The answer to this question depends on the goals of the regulator. As was previously outlined in Part I, much of the goals of states today is to focus on incentivising innovative applications of AI or encouraging break through AI research. We could imagine, however, that the average regulator might also consider such goals as avoiding the risk that AI research or technology leads to the eradication of humankind and reducing other major risks for human beings to the extent that the expected positive effect of AI is not disproportionately hampered. Furthermore, regulators might feel compelled to deal with particular risks linked to specific technological uses. Continue reading Report on Artificial Intelligence: Part II – outline of future regulation of AI

Report on Artificial Intelligence: Part I – the existing regulatory landscape

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been placed front and centre in many countriesʼ economic strategies1, probably unsurprising as AI is one of the defining technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution2. Nascent AI regulation around the world today is characterised by soft approaches either aimed at incentivising innovation in the manufacturing or digital sectors or encouraging break through research. The ethical implications of AI are either regulated through specific AI codes in companies concerned with good corporate social responsibility, in research institutes (private or public) concerned with ethical research and innovation or not regulated at all. These AI ethical codes are not formally scrutinised by any public administration, nor are they legislatively required, and so it is difficult to assess the quality and effectiveness of such codes in minimising the negative implications of AI. The purpose of this howtoregulate report is to examine existing AI regulatory landscape (Part I) and present regulatory approaches for minimising the harms of AI (Part II – outline for future regulation of AI), evidently without putting into question the utility of AI. Continue reading Report on Artificial Intelligence: Part I – the existing regulatory landscape