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10 Oxford J. Legal Stud. 85 (1990)
The Justice/All Souls Review: Don Quixote to the Rescue

handle is hein.journals/oxfjls10 and id is 93 raw text is: The JUSTICE/All Souls Review:
Don Quixote to the Rescue?t
CAROL HARLOW*
The JUSTICE/All Souls Review Committee is best described as an unofficial Royal
Commission. Its origins can be traced to a seminar organized beneath the ivory
towers of All Souls College, Oxford in 1966. Remember that this was a period of
lack of faith in British constitutional institutions when influential writers were
expressing concern over the absence of a systematized and systematic adminis-
trative law in the United Kingdom.1 While the (supposed) logic and symmetry of
French administrative law was an attraction, a second and perhaps more important
concern was undoubtedly the escalating process of centralization and executive
dominance in British government.2 Some commentators saw or thought they saw
the rebirth of Lord Hewart's 'New Despotism'. The creation of a strong system of
administrative law with judicial review as its focal point seemed essential if this
tendency were to be halted.
Government, however, did not share this nightmare vision of a state out of
control. Thus the Lord Chancellor's riposte to the Law Commission's proposal for
an overall survey of the system of administrative law was to authorize a study of the
existing remedies for judicial control of administrative action3--clearly by no
means the same thing. Note that it was finally left to the Rules Committee of the
Supreme Court to implement even these modest reforms through amendments to
Order 53 of the Rules of the Supreme Court and that it was the judiciary and not
government which went on to create a separate identity for 'public law' in terms of
the new Order.4
Sensing that nothing further was likely to be forthcoming through government,
JUSTICE secured the help of All Souls College to undertake a broad review of
English administrative law. Perhaps they did not at first realize the magnitude of
Professor of Law, London School of Economics and Poitical Science.
I A review of Administrative Justice, Some Necessary Reforms, Report of the Committee of the JUSTICE-All Souls
Review of Administrative Law in the United Kingdom. Chairman: Patrick Neill QC. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1988,
477, price £40 (£12.50 in paperback).
I J. Mitchell, 'The Causes and Effects of the Absence of a System of Public Law in the United Kingdom' [1965]
Public Law 95; N. Johnson, In Search of the Constitution (1978).
2 See particularly, the introduction by R. H. S. Crossman to Bagehot's English Constitution (Fontana, 1973).
3 See respectively Administrative Law, Cmnd 4059 (1969); Law Corn Working Paper No 40, Remedies in
Administrative Law (1971); Report on Remedies in Administrative Law, Cmnd 6407 (1976).
4 O'Reilly v Mackman [1983] 2 AC 237; L. Blom-Cooper, 'The New Face of Judicial Review: Administrative
Changes in Order 53' [1982] Public Law 250.
© Oxford University Press 1990  Oxford Journal of Legal Studies Vol. 10, No. 1

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