Christopher Hodges, Professor of Justice Systems at the University of Oxford, summarises his research across legal structures, psychology and sociology to conclude that regulators need to focus on understanding and improving the culture of those they regulate. “The traditional model of law enforcement – inspection, identifying breaches and imposing sanctions – has many drawbacks. Why do most organisations comply with the law? Because they want to. It’s about doing the right thing.” Data protection is no different. It is necessary to segment the regulated community. Mutual trust is vital – based especially on evidence about how organisations behave when things go wrong.
Following a career as a partner at a leading City law firm, Christopher Hodges is Professor of Justice Systems, and head of the Swiss Re Research Programme on Civil Justice Systems, at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. He has held numerous other academic appointments around the world.
Christopher has researched and written extensively on the effectiveness of regulatory systems. Alongside this, he has done much to promote new approaches to ethical regulation. In 2015, he published Law and Corporate Behaviour, an 800 page book which - drawing particularly on behavioural psychology - examines the theories and practice of how to control corporate behaviour through legal techniques. His key finding across numerous sectors is that ‘enforcement’ has to concentrate on identifying the causes of non-compliance – and supporting improved performance - rather than be based on fear and deterrence.