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Review, Revenge and Retreat

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The article deals with a wide-ranging legal and political conflict of considerable constitutional significance, the attempt by UK ministers to restrict formal challenge of asylum decisions using a variety of devices and the fierce and partly successful opposition that this engendered. The article examines the legal and administrative roots of the controversy; the anatomy of the government's generalised counter-attack or ‘revenge package’; the main juridical elements in the resulting public furore; and the character of the government's eventual retreat. In so doing, it raises, and elaborates on, a series of linked themes: the powerful dynamics of judicial review in this policy domain; the historical sense of a gathering storm in relations between ministers and judges; the practical interplay of rule of law arguments with developments in common law constitutionalism; and an expanded role for legal elements in the political process.

Keywords: asylum; constitutional theory and practice; judicial review

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Law Department, London School of Economics and Political Science

Publication date: May 1, 2005


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