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Access to justice within the sustainable self-governance model

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Little attention has been given to the development and operation of non-state models of global governance and the extent to which they conform to principles of good governance. Focusing primarily on issues of access to justice and secondarily on the independence of such bodies from the industries which they purport to regulate, this paper argues that adjudicative mechanisms established by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and firms may not produce outcomes which are considered 'just' by them. Part one locates dispute resolution as a narrower aspect of participation in decision-making, identifies several deficiencies of the state-centric model in the provision of justice and outlines collaborative NGO-corporate arrangements. Part two provides an account of one NGO-corporate arrangement, portrays its principal function and governance structure and identifies the relevant procedural aspects for initiating its private adjudicative arm. The case study considered in part three involves recourse by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society to the objections procedure of the Marine Stewardship Council with a view to challenging the certification of the New Zealand hoki fishery as well-managed and sustainable. Finally, it is argued in part four that the lack of independence and limited remedies available to such arrangements does not merely fail to realise justice but has wider ramifications for the continued governance of corporate-NGO arrangements.

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