Speaker: Professor Iris Chiu (Faculty of Law, UCL)

Chair: Professor Alan Neal (University of Leiden, The Netherlands)

About the lecture:

The regulation of corporate behaviour has persisted in spite of peaks of neo-liberalism in many developed jurisdictions of the world, including the UK. This paradox is described as ‘regulatory capitalism’ by a number of scholars. Although caricatured as a burden-imposing and costly exercise, the lecture clarifies that regulatory capitalism in the UK, in its three key tenets applicable to corporate regulation, reflects, and is not antagonistic to, the spirit of the liberal market economy embraced in the UK. These tenets of regulatory capitalism in the UK have however over time exposed gaps in relation to the social expectations of regulation of corporate behaviour.

These gaps have become the subject of debates in the realm of ‘corporate social responsibility’, where business, civil society and state frame the expectations of corporate behaviour in contested aspects such as in relation to scope, motivations, theoretical and practical premises. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis 2007-9, we observe increasing legalisation of CSR issues. These take the form of clarifying the delineation of corporate responsibility and liability and usually involves enhanced scrutiny of corporations by markets, regulators and stakeholders.

In this lecture, it will be argued that such legalisation is attributed to political disruptions that reflect underlying instability in social contentment and the persistence of critical CSR. Politicians have become more willing to introduce shifts in the equilibria of government-business relationships in light of perceived instability to their power in democratic polities. Is such legalisation a reflection of the ‘same-old’ regulatory capitalism, or indicative of ideological and policy changes?

The lecture critically discusses the nature and characteristics in the legalisation achieved in: the EU Non-financial Disclosure Directive 2015 transposed in the UK Companies Act, the introduction of corporate obligations in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and Criminal Finances Act 2017, and the enforcement of the Bribery Act 2010 which we regard as an achievement of legalisation that traverses pre and post-crisis sentiment.


Date and Time: 25 January 2018 | 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Location: UCL Cruciform Building LT2, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

To attend the event, please register here.