Archive for December, 2009

Dec 17 2009

Review of the year

Published by under International law,Scots law

Not this Calvin

Not this Calvin…

Well, I’m knocking off until the New Year. For those among my loyal readers who can’t keep away from the law over the break, I offer a prize of a bottle of the Faculty of Advocates finest Reading Room Claret to the best set of answers to this quiz on outré legal events of the last 365 days. Competition closes at Hogmanay midnight; answers by way of the comment form below, which is moderated so nothing will be published until next term. As a tie-breaker, points will be given for wit, imagination, and good guesses, so don’t feel you have to pass because you haven’t the faintest idea what the answer is. Multiple attempts are permitted, but may not be counted at my discretion. If you feel you need to know what the other rules are, they’re here, with credit and thanks to those great philosophers Calvin and Hobbes. Or you can ask, though I don’t promise to answer. And the compliments of the season to you. Continue Reading »


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Dec 15 2009

Judicial review of the Upper Tribunal

Published by under Scots law

Statutory provisions seeking to oust the jurisdiction of the courts have a long and inglorious history. Their desired object, to exclude any form of review by an independent court, is practically impossible to achieve. Some years ago, someone thought up a new wheeze: simply describe the body which it is sought to protect as a ‘superior court of record‘ and then assert loudly that the nature of such a court was that it could not be judicially reviewed; all rather reminiscent of the old South African line that Parliament could be declared a court so as to allow a bare majority to change the constitution (Minister of the Interior v Harris 1952 (4) SA 769). This phrase has, since the Leggatt Report, become fashionable with recently-created tribunals. Examples include the Special Immigration Appeals Commission and the Upper Tribunal, both of which are now declared to be such a court; the latter is becoming an increasingly important, if overlooked, part of the judicial firmament. Never mind that ‘the precise legal significance of this expression is not entirely clear, even in England, and possibly not at all in Scotland‘; indeed, as noted below, it has no recognised meaning in Scotland‘. The simple argument was that superior courts of record could not be subject to judicial review, because they couldn’t be.

In the recent English case of Cart & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Upper Tribunal & Ors [2009] EWHC 3052 (Admin), this argument was run by Government and rejected by the court. Continue Reading »


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