Why “Do nothing” is a basic option

The entire contemporary perception about the admissibility of governmental intervention in the private life business, citizens and civic organizations by imposing rules of conducts is based upon the understanding that new legal norms, new pieces of legislation, new regulation must be adopted only when there does not exist other more effective not normative, non-legislative or non-regulative ways for solving certain identified problems.

Therefore in countries where RIA operates as a compulsory mechanism for drafting new legal regulations, rule number one, inevitable base case and bottom-line from which every assessment starts is to consider the basic “Do nothing” option.

The principle of “Do nothing” in the sphere of regulation does not mean lack of willingness or indolence of people with authority to make policies or decisions. It is a golden rule that has crystallized from the long years of democratic experience which has its solid scientific and practical fundaments.

From a legal point of view the choice of “Doing nothing” puts the emphasis on the necessity firstly to be exhausted all non-regulative approaches for solving the problems using alternative to legislation tools such as self-regulation, co-regulation, quasi-regulation, adoption of market instruments, standards, codes of practices/behaviour and other similar. The consideration for adoption of new legal regulations must start only after those above turn to be ineffective. The legal roots of the “Do nothing” rule are to be found in the norms governing the responsibility for tort and the principle “do not harm purposely the other”, the insurance legislation in its part referring to the separate types of compensations and also in the generally accepted market mechanisms for regulation in specific the economic sectors.

From a factual point of view the principle of “Do nothing” has established itself as basic due to the many cases from practice in which it has turned out that a given problem has solved on its own, for example in the case of fast changing markets, cases when an act of the government moved the problem from one sector to another without solving it are or occasions in which the costs for intervention of the government turned to be higher than those stemming out from the problem to be solved. Another bad practice that is used as rationale for the compulsory consideration of the “Do nothing” base case is the existence of plenty of cases in which the government tries to solve problems with the observance and compliance with a given piece of legislation through adoption of new legal rules without analyzing the reasons for non-compliance or bad observance of the legislation which existed prior to the changes.