JURD7364 Regulation, Litigation and Enforcement

Lecturer: Michael Legg

What is the course about?
Regulation is prolific. For regulation to be effective it needs to be enforced in some manner, but numerous enforcement tools and methods of employing those tools exist. This begs the question for regulators, regulated entities and their lawyers: how should enforcement be undertaken or avoided?

The course is structured to look at regulators’ coercive investigatory powers, the various pathways to enforcement (e.g. negotiation, civil litigation and criminal litigation), case studies of enforcement and alternatives to traditional enforcement. It takes a practical approach by having numerous speakers deliver one hour seminars on their areas of expertise.

The course focuses on Australia’s three main regulators that businesses have to deal with: the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Australian Taxation Office. However, the principles are applicable to many other regulators and regulatory regimes.

Why does the subject interest you?
The regulation of any area must include enforcement, but the way in which enforcement is undertaken varies. Regulators have many tools and approaches that they can employ. Equally regulated entities can be cooperative or adversarial. These choices and interactions impact whether the law is effective and the ramifications for the parties. Determining how to enforce the law or respond to a regulator is of significant public and private interest. As a practitioner I worked on cases for entities about the subject of ASIC, ACCC and ATO enforcement. Dealing with regulators and advising clients gave me a continuing interest in this area.

Do you have any advice to give to students who are interested in taking this course?
This course is aimed at students who are interested in working for a regulator, in an in-house role or with a law firm in the areas of regulatory compliance or litigation. It teaches both background knowledge that is key to this area (black letter law) as well as the fundamental strategic issues that need to be considered in determining what approach to take. Students can explore these in a research essay. There is also scope to consider law reform and comparisons between regulators.

How will this course be relevant in the future?
The interaction between regulators and regulated entities, including through litigation, is a core aspect of what regulators do and of all corporate entities. Frequently the stakes are enormous – jail for a director, loss of a licence to operate a business or significant fines, civil penalties or compensation claims. Lawyers with a strong skill set in regulation, enforcement and litigation are highly sought after.