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Do Business Take Compliance Seriously? An Empirical Test- Preliminary Results

Dr Christine Parker 
University of Melbourne Law School
Tuesday 25 October, 1-2.30pm

Date: 25 October 2005
Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Venue: CARR Seminar Room, H615

It has been argued that encouraging and forcing the implementation of internal compliance systems by business is the best tool regulators have for making a difference inside business management to identify, correct and prevent breaches of the law ('meta-regulation' of business management of regulatory compliance: Parker 2002a). On the
other hand, it has been suggested that regulatory encouragement (or enforcement) of compliance systems and business implementation of such systems, is little more than expensive window-dressing to make it look like businesses and regulators are doing something to ensure regulatory compliance, when they are really doing little at all to accomplish compliance with regulatory goals. Indeed, they may be using the compliance system to avoid regulatory liability or deflect blame or conflict about regulatory compliance away from top management. This paper presents preliminary results from a survey of 1000 large Australian businesses experience of competition and consumer law regulation enforcement and compliance. First we consider how compliance can be measured. Then we describe the extent of implementation of competition and consumer law compliance systems by our respondents. Finally we present the results of tests on whether greater implementation of compliance systems leads to greater rates of compliance and/or better compliance management and a better culture of compliance.

Dr Christine Parker is Senior Lecturer in the Law Faculty, University of Melbourne. Dr Parker's first book evaluated the regulatory and self-regulatory regimes governing the legal profession (Just Lawyers, 1999, OUP) and she regularly writes on lawyers' ethics and regulation. Dr Parker has also conducted extensive empirical research and published widely on internal corporate compliance and ethics systems and on law and regulatory policy for encouraging corporate compliance. Dr Parker speaks regularly on internal corporate self-regulation systems and regulatory policy at continuing legal education seminars and professional conferences. Her major book on this topic, The Open Corporation: Self-Regulation and Corporate Citizenship, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2002.