An Introduction to Administrative Law

By Peter Cane | Go to book overview
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Preface

Public law is developing at breakneck speed. In the four years since the second edition was prepared, there have been major changes in areas including standing, freedom of information and tort liability, and a myriad of smaller changes elsewhere. On the very day I received the page proofs of this book, Lord Woolf published his final report on Access to Justice, and I have been able to incorporate some material dealing with relevant proposals (see p. 107 below). In Lord Woolf's words, 'the growth of public law and, in particular, of judicial review, has been one of the most significant developments in the English legal system in the last 25 years'. I believe it to be no exaggeration to say that the role of the judicial branch of government in controlling the activities of the other branches (including the leglislature) will be transformed in the next decade or so. The impact of EC law and the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights on English administrative law and British constitutional law will play a significant part in this transformation. But of perhaps even greater importance will be the fact that more and more of our senior judges are gaining a new confidence and sense of purpose in asserting what they see to be the values of legality and constitutional propriety against the other branches of government. It will also, I believe, become increasingly harder for governments to ignore, downplay or reverse by legislation their defeats in the courts. Whether this is a good thing or not, each reader must decide for himself or herself. But I have no doubt that we are entering a new era in relations between the judicial and the other branches of government. And if the recent past is anything to go by, the new era may be one of conflict and confrontation, whichever political party is in power at Westminster.

I find teaching a great source of stimulation--it forces the teacher to be constantly thinking things through afresh. It is impossible to explain complicated ideas to others unless one understands them oneself, and

-v-

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