The trauma of Kader and the response of both the national and international communities provided a window into the workings of globalization, sovereignty and regulatory change. The Kader case showed that reform and compliance in light of regulatory character must take account of both international and local economic demands. In the case of Kader, from the Thai activists’ perspective, however, it was the international toy companies that were incidental to their major concern, namely the activities of Kader itself. Understanding the significance of reforms, then, meant coming to grips with the ‘law-practice’ gap; more particularly regulatory character, as both a theoretical construct and an empirical reality, moulds how reform and compliance are shaped. Politicians and the bureaucracy reestablished sovereignty through the contours of regulatory character to make sure that regulatory change took account of local power interests. Issues of sovereignty were particularly critical in the area of compensation and health and safety law.