Title: A judicial approach to accounting and accountability for sustainability: a New Zealand case study of the impacts of commercial hydroelectric operations

Authors: Murugesh Arunachalam; Andrea McLachlan

Addresses: Department of Accounting, Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, PB3105, Hamilton, New Zealand ' Department of Accounting, Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, PB3105, Hamilton, New Zealand

Abstract: This paper provides an interpretation of accounting and accountability in relation to environmental court proceedings in New Zealand. The fundamentals of the interpretation are 'text' and pre-understandings. The text consists of two environment court cases about the impacts hydroelectric operations of a listed company in the Otago District. The pre-understandings consist of the theoretical framework underlying the arena approach to accounting and accountability. The interpretive analysis is a two-way process in which the theoretical framework provides insights on the text, and the text provides empirical insights on the theoretical framework. The interpretive analysis identifies several features of accounting and accountability embedded in the environmental court proceedings including: an underlying regulatory framework, participation of corporate and non-corporate stakeholders; legitimising and problematising account giving; and an interdisciplinary approach to accounting and accountability in the judicial arena. This study extends the theorisation of the arena approach to accountability to the judicial arena.

Keywords: accounting; accountability; sustainability; environment court; arena; legitimising; problematising; account giving; New Zealand.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2017.090587

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2017 Vol.9 No.5/6, pp.406 - 432

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 09 Mar 2018 *

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