Review, Revenge and Retreat

33 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2005


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.

Suggested Citation

Rawlings, Richard, Review, Revenge and Retreat. Modern Law Review, Vol. 68, No. 3, pp. 378-410, May 2005. Available at SSRN:

Richard Rawlings (Contact Author)

University College London

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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