Empirical compliance : a study of waste management regulation in the U.K. and Germany
This thesis deals with the concept of compliance. Its main argument is that the concept of formal compliance has shortcomings and therefore needs to be complemented with a concept of empirical compliance. At the heart of the concept of compliance is the relationship between rules and social practices. This relationship is conceptualized as involving a "gap", in the case of formal non - compliance, or as indicating the fulfilment of legal requirements in the case of formal compliance. Instead, as the concept of empirical compliance shows, rules and social practices can be linked through a process of integration. This changes our understanding of a concept of law. Formal concepts of law which are based on formal legal rules have to be modified in order to understand empirical compliance. An empirical concept of law which is based both on enforement officers' and the regulated companies' definitions of what is considered as normative in everyday practices has to be adopted. I discuss commercial aims, technology, information ani the formal law as normative contexts which shape a notion of empirical law. The thesis adopts a social construction approach by exploring how actors in the field establish and manipulate the various normative constraints under which they work. The research explores empirical compliance in the area of waste management regulation in the U.K. and Germany. It draws on qualitative data on the implementation of waste management regulation in the everyday practices of handling waste at two waste treatment plants and the day to day enforcement activities of two waste regulation authorities. The thesis focusses on the behaviour of staff on the lowest level of the organizational hierarchy in both the waste treatment plants and the waste regulation authorities. The main research techniques employed were observation and participant observation over a three months period with each of the four organizations involved in the research.