May 26 2010

Forthcoming conference: Scottish Public Law Group

The Scottish Public Law Group’s annual conference for 2010 will be held on Monday 7 June at the Playfair Library in Old College, Edinburgh University. The full programme is available here. This will be fully booked so get your place quick.

I’m speaking in the supposed graveyard slot after lunch on the problems of title and interest in public law challenges, something which has interested me since I argued it many years ago in Age Concern Scotland, 1987 SLT 179. The Civil Courts Review last year recommended reform of our ancient and restrictive rules: volume 2, Chapter 12, paragraphs 13 to 25. I have doubts whether its suggested solution really deals with the problems. This however links in to other reforms, notably the unexploited procedure of public-interest intervention under Rule of Court 58.8A, where the intervener need not show title and interest; the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission who have title and interest in practically any legal proceedings by way of section 30 of the Equality Act 2006, and who recently for the first time appeared as ‘interested persons’ in a judicial review petition in Scotland; and the anticipated introduction (by Rules of Court) of modern procedures for multi-party actions in the forthcoming year. There are others. All these actual and proposed changes tend to go in the same direction: making it easier to mount a public-interest challenge. But none are fully developed.

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