The Future of Transnational Self-Regulation ― Enforcement and Compliance in Professional Services

69 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2017 Last revised: 1 Jun 2018

Panagiotis Delimatsis

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Tilburg Law School

Date Written: January 17, 2017


The increased expansion of economic activity beyond national borders leads to a shift of regulatory power. Public authorities concede power, explicitly or tacitly, to private bodies, whereas the multilayered ecology of global governance inevitably increases the role of transnational institutional structures. This article examines such developments in the area of professional services. It starts by analyzing the self-regulation phenomenon in professional services and points to examples where professional associations accentuate their unique nature to justify the importance of nonintervention in their internal affairs. Powerful professional associations have been thereby created, which, depending on the services subsector (e.g. legal, engineering or advertising services), are the final masters of access to and practice of a given profession. After a critical review of the most important professional associations at the global level, the article focuses on instances of private enforcement and goes on to examine the role of courts in reviewing such enforcement. In this regard, constitutionality of private enforcement is also examined. Finally, the article refers to the role of antitrust rules in harnessing distortive business practices that professional associations may adopt. The article focuses in particular on instances of private, decentralized enforcement. Whereas no truly transnational private regulation in professional services has yet emerged, it is submitted that the foundations for such a development are being built progressively as a result of borderless activities in this sector and a relatively deferential stance on the side of the State.

Keywords: Transnational Private Regulation, Professional Services, Enforcement, Global Governance, Transnational Law, Private Ordering, Judicial Review

JEL Classification: F13, F15, K21, K33, L51, L84

Suggested Citation

Delimatsis, Panagiotis, The Future of Transnational Self-Regulation ― Enforcement and Compliance in Professional Services (January 17, 2017). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2017-015; Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 40(1) (2017). Available at SSRN: or

Panagiotis Delimatsis (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Postbus 90153
Tilburg, NL-5000 LE
0031 13 466 8251 (Phone)
0031 13 466 8047 (Fax)


Tilburg Law School ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Postbus 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE

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