Society of Legal Scholars Annual Seminar 2018

Fifty Years of ‘The Quartet’ and Modern Judicial Review

Moot Room, Freeman Building, University of Sussex

18–19 May 2018



In the 1960s, the House of Lord decided four cases which would eventually come to form the foundations on the modern law of judicial review is built: Ridge v Baldwin, Anisminic v Foreign Compensation Commission, Conway v Rimmer, and Padfield v Minister of Agriculture.  All four cases, which became known to public lawyers as the `The Quartet’, featured a powerful lead opinion by Lord Reid. His speeches in those cases cemented his reputation as a great reforming judge in the common law tradition, and as a pioneer of administrative law in the courts.

Despite the celebrated status of these cases, all four were controversial. Ridge, Padfield, Anisminic were legally controversial: they featured strong dissents and saw the House of Lords reverse the Court of Appeal. Conway saw the House of Lords overrule long-established legal principles—a power it had only acquired in 1966—in the interests of what one of the judges, Lords Morris, described as ‘the proper development of the law.’ Even today, these cases continue to give rise to allegations of judicial adventurism. Anisminic, for example, recently featured in a list of ‘50 problematic cases’ produced by Policy Exchange’s ‘Judicial Power Project’.

The year 1968 is indelibly associated with these cases.  Three of the four were decided in that year—two within weeks of each other—making it a seminal year in the development of the UK’s public law.  This two-day seminar uses the 50th anniversary of that year to use the cases as a lens to re-examine the system of judicial review to which they gave rise.  The seminar will bring together a distinguished collection of legal and political science scholars, as well as eminent judges and practitioners from different countries. By doing so, it will shed new light on the complex processes through which the modern system of judicial review emerged, the normative and constitutional choices that are implicit in its jurisprudence, and the relevance of these foundational cases for the challenges facing the UK’s public law today. The event, and the edited collection that will follow, will break new ground in evaluating the achievements, or failings, of the common law in judicial review, and directly connect to current debates within the UK and elsewhere as to the true value of judicial review.

Confirmed speakers

The Rt. Hon. Lord Reed, Justice of the Supreme Court

Justice Daphne Barak-Erez, Supreme Court of Israel

Professor Peter Cane, University of Cambridge

Professor Robert Thomas, University of Manchester

Professor T T Arvind, Newcastle University and Professor Lindsay Stirton, University of Sussex

Professor Maurice Sunkin, University of Essex

Professor David Feldman, University of Cambridge

Dr Sarah Nason, Prifysgol Bangor University

Dr Joe Tomlinson, University of Sheffield and Mr Jake Rylatt, No 5 Barristers Chambers

Dr Richard Kirkham, University of Sheffield and Dr Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis, University of Sheffield

Professor Daithí Mac Síthigh, Queens University Belfast

Professor Christopher Forsyth, University of Cambridge

Mr Paul Bowen QC, Brick Court Chambers

Mr David Gardner, No 5 Barristers Chambers

Dr Dean Knight, University of Wellington

Dr Gianluca Gentilli, University of Sussex

Open Call For Discussants

We are seeking eight discusants – two for each morning or afternoon session. Discussants will offer a short, critical comment on the papers of each session. If you wish to be considered as a discussant, please send a one paragraph statement of why you are well-placed to act in this role to together with a CV. 

Workshop Registration

There are a limited number of spaces at the workshop. Please register your details below if you would like to attend.