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  3. Politics of Transnational Regulation

Politics of Transnational Regulation (LAWS90148)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90148
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

From corporate self-regulation to multi-stakeholder certification, transnational private regulation is exploding. Multinational firms and powerful governments often succeed in exploiting the resulting overlaps and intersections amongst actors and institutions to bypass unattractive forums, shift decision-making to preferred arenas, shape outcomes in their favour and impose their desired rules on others. Marginalized equity-seeking actors such as workers, indigenous peoples, subsistence producers and industry-affected communities sometimes resist these efforts successfully. Rarely, they even exploit these overlaps and intersections to advance their own interests. Using real-world examples and cutting-edge interdisciplinary theory, the subject examines how powerful actors exploit transnational governance interactions in their favour and how these interactive dynamics can instead be harnessed to improve regulatory capacities, raise standards and empower weaker actors. The teacher heads the interdisciplinary Transnational Business Governance Interactions research network and is a leading scholar and practitioner of transnational private regulation.

Principal questions and topics to be addressed will include:

  • What is transnational private regulation? Definition, actors, institutions, processes, history, trends, examples and relation to domestic and international law
  • What are transnational governance interactions? Drivers, mechanisms, pathways, forms, impacts and spatio-temporal dynamics
  • How do powerful actors exploit transnational governance interactions to advance their interests and sometimes to frustrate transnational regulation?
  • When and how can transnational governance interactions be harnessed to enhance regulatory capacities, raise social and environmental standards, or empower weaker actors?
  • What legal and other theories and methodologies might help to explain, predict and evaluate these interactive dynamics?
  • What happened in selected cases of transnational governance interactions drawn from various sectors and issue areas including:
    • Agri-food
    • Biofuels
    • Climate Change
    • Derivatives Trading
    • Financial Technology
    • Fisheries
    • Food safety
    • Forestry
    • Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
    • Labour Standards
    • Oil and Gas
    • Social Responsibility Standards
    • Sports Mega-Events
    • Supply Chain Management
  • What can be learned from these case studies? Implications for legal theory, practice, ethics and professionalism in a globalizing world.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced and integrated understanding of the emergence, proliferation, characteristics and interactive dynamics of transnational private regulation
  • Independently investigate, analyse, critically reflect on and synthesise the forms, drivers, mechanisms, pathways, impacts and spatio-temporal dynamics of transnational governance interactions
  • Articulate empirically-informed theories of the factors influencing the success or failure of efforts to harness transnational governance interactions to enhance the quality of transnational private regulation or empower weaker actors
  • Apply these theories with creativity and initiative to real-world or hypothetical examples
  • Plan and execute original research into transnational private regulation and transnational governance interactions using library resources and publicly available materials
  • Advise future clients in a sophisticated and ethical manner on how overlaps, intersections and conflicts amongst transnational private regulatory actors and institutions can be managed to advance clients' goals and serve public interests

Last updated: 20 July 2019