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The Independence of National Regulatory Agencies

maandag 3 april 2023
Utrecht University, Department of Law, Janskerkhof building
Janskerkhof 3
3512 BK Utrecht


National regulatory agencies (NRAs) are standard setting public authorities that monitor and sanction market actors. This seminar will be based on a recently finished project conducted at the assignment of the Body of the European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) by dr. Olga Batura (Leuphana University, Germany and Duke Kunshan University, China) and dr. Malgorzata Kozak (Utrecht University) on the independence of NRAs in the electronic communications sector. During the seminar the substantive results of the research and the methodological challenges of exploring NRA independence will be discussed. The presenters will also explore future research directions on the independence of public authorities such as NRAs as an important normative dimension of institutions for conflict resolution.

Independence is a multifaceted and intricate concept, which relates to the NRAs’ ability to resist influence and act freely, without interference from political actors, and regulated entities. The independence of NRAs embraces the legal framework that governs their operations (de jure) and the actual practices of the authority and other relevant stakeholders (de facto). The report analyses both de jure and de facto independence across four broad dimensions: systemic, operational, financial, and personnel-related. The report also incorporates accountability and monitoring dimensions to ensure accountability and monitor actions taken by NRAs and explores how NRA independence can be maintained in the future. The project involved “law in books” research of the de jure independence using such methods as literature review, comparative analysis of relevant legal frameworks and interviews with experts. To research de facto independence, an elaborate survey of BEREC members, workshop with NRA experts (presenting own country studies) and a round of focus interviews with selected NRAs were conducted.

Presenter bios

Dr. Olga Batura holds LL.M. Eur. from the University of Bremen, Master of European Studies from the Europa-Kolleg Hamburg and Dr.jur. from the University of Bremen. She is currently teaching at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg (Germany) and Duke Kunshan University (China). In addition to academic activities, Olga also works as a public policy consultant.

Dr. Malgorzata Kozak is Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, School of Law. She specializes in European Union law and competition law including private and public enforcement. She has also over 10 years of experience as an advocate (radca prawna) enrolled to the Regional Bar in Gdansk and much longer experience in advising clients in competition law in Warsaw. She represented a client against the European Commission in the case before the General Court T-791/19, Sped-Pro.

About the seminar series

Institutions for Conflict Resolution / Conflictoplossende Instituties (COI) is a research collaboration between Utrecht University, Leiden University, and Radboud University Nijmegen. As part of its activities, the COI research group organises seminars throughout the year for researchers interested in current and innovative topics relating to institutions for conflict resolution. The seminars feature international speakers who present their work, followed by Q&A and discussion. Themes include the evolving role of judges in preventing and resolving conflicts, the role of alternative avenues and non-public actors, and how societal challenges such as climate change or digitalisation affect institutions for conflict resolution. Seminars are hosted on a rotating basis at each of the three universities, and are delivered in a hybrid format: online via Microsoft Teams and in-person, on campus at the host institution.

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