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LAW7214 - Utility regulation: law and policy

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Ms Frances Hanks / Dr Philip Williams


Not offered in 2007


This subject will examine legal and economic theories of regulation, with particular reference to utilities. The implications of general competition law for utilities will be discussed in some detail, with a focus on vertically integrated utilities and utilities operating in markets where there are varying degrees of competitive constraint. The appropriateness of industry specific regulation will also be considered. Case studies based on recent Australian and New Zealand decisions will be used to illustrate the topics covered.


Upon completion of this subject, students should

  1. have a working knowledge of micro-economic theory relevant to competition law;
  2. have a working knowledge of the principles of competition law, and the statutory competition law framework in Australia;
  3. have a detailed knowledge of the policy arguments for and against industry regulation in relation to natural monopolies, and vertically integrated utilities;
  4. have a detailed knowledge of common techniques of industry regulation, including substantive rules and institutional arrangements, and their legal and economic policy rationales;
  5. be able to identify the relevant legal and economic principles in the field of industry regulation, and apply them to current issues in utility regulation;
  6. have further developed legal research and writing and legal/policy advocacy skills by undertaking systematic research into legal and economic policy issues, and legal rules and regulatory procedures, in relation to regulation of utilities;
  7. have developed skills of oral presentation and debate in relation to legal and regulatory policy, in an interactive seminar context.


Research paper (6750 words): 90%
Class participation: 10%

Contact hours