Jun 02 2008

Ten Dos and Don’ts of Judicial Review in Scotland

The Murray Stable launched its Public Law Group at a well-attended meeting on 29 May chaired by Derek O’Carroll. Ailsa Carmichael and I spoke on “Ten Dos and Don’ts of Judicial Review“. The handout is here and does what it says in the header. This event will, we expect, be repeated, as we had a waiting list of almost as many people as came: details will be posted here and on the Stable news page.

Judicial review is an under-utilised remedy in Scotland. In recent years there have been, according to the Civil Courts Review consultation paper, two to three hundred petitions brought a year1. If the Scottish legal profession was more conscious of the range of circumstances in which judicial review might be a useful remedy, far more would be brought; in England and Wales, there are over six thousand judicial review applications a year. Although no more than five per cent of all actions brought in the Court of Session, judicial reviews are far less likely to be settled than almost any other class of business; in 2007, a typical year, fifteen per cent of all opinions issued by the Court of Session were judicial review. So a practical understanding and experience of the procedure is important, not only to specialist public law practitioners.

The Murray Stable has always had a concentration of public law, judicial review, and human rights expertise, and one of the aims of its new Public, Administrative and Human Rights Law Group, to give it its full name, is to develop the profile of public law in Scotland. The group is not simply dedicated to the highest-paying clients; experience in this field is, I think, best gained by acting for both petitioners and respondents, and accepting legal aid instructions as well as commercial and public instructions.

  1. Page 101; Graph 6. [back]
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