The evolution of a modern (and more legitimate) regulator: A case study of the Victoria Environment Protection Authority

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A growing body of research establishes that a regulator’s legitimacy is important to its ability to discharge its regulatory responsibilities, and that regulatory compliance can depend significantly on people’s perception of the legitimacy of the regulatory regime and the regulators within it. This makes understanding how regulators can repair damaged legitimacy critically important. This paper contributes to this goal: first, by developing a conceptual framework for better understanding and examining legitimacy’s complex nature which can be used to construct and deconstruct legitimacy claims; and second, by applying that framework to examine the challenges faced by the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to regain legitimacy in the eyes of those it regulates,those for whose benefit it regulates, and government bodies with whom it partners or interacts in the course of discharging its regulatory responsibilities.Through this case study, the paper contributes to a better understanding of how governments, businesses and community groups conceive of regulatory legitimacy, and the aspects of official regulatory action (or inaction) that influence their perceptions of regulatory legitimacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-43
Number of pages27
JournalAustralian Journal of Environmental Law
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Regulation
  • legitimacy
  • public value
  • regulatory practice
  • environment protection

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