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Title: The constitutional basis of judicial review in Scotland
Author: Thomson, Stephen
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2014
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The thesis examines the constitutional position of the Court of Session's supervisory jurisdiction. It begins by emphasising the methodological and substantive importance of the historicality and traditionality of law. It then provides a detailed historical account of the emergence of the Court's supervisory jurisdiction, from its inheritance of supervisory functions from emanations of the King's Council to the present-day law of judicial review. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the Court's strong sense of self-orientation in the wider legal and constitutional order, and the extent to which it defined its own supervisory jurisdiction. The court was a powerful constitutional actor and played a strong role in the increasing centralisation and systematisation of the legal order, expanding its supervisory purview through a powerful triumvirate of remedies (advocation, suspension and reduction) and a comprehensive approach to the supervision of a wide range of bodies. The thesis then frames tensions between Parliament and the Court in the context of judicial review of ouster clauses, chosen as a point of heightened inter-institutional tension. This is demonstrated to be an area in which divergent visions of the constitution are evident – Parliament regarding itself as entitled to oust the jurisdiction of the Court to judicially review, and the Court regarding itself as entitled to examine and pronounce on the extent of ouster, including its limitation or exclusion. In attempting to conciliate these divergent constitutional worldviews, the thesis rejects a “last word” approach which prevails in the English judicial review literature. It considers (and rejects), as alternatives, dialogue theories and functional departmentalism. The thesis then advances constitutional narratology as its preferred analytical framework for the accommodation of those inter-institutional tensions, and conciliation of their divergent worldviews. The Court's performance of a constitutional-narratological function facilitates the integration, conciliation and synthesis of legal norms with an existing law and legal system; weaves and coagulates multifarious legal norms into a unified and univocal body of norms; and executes a chronicling, expository and explanatory storytelling function which sets a legally-authoritative narrative to the law. In doing so, the Court performs a distinctive and indispensable constitutional function incapable of fulfilment by Parliament. It is argued that traditionality and functional necessity provide the legal-systemic legitimation for the Court's performance of the constitutional-narratological function. Finally, the thesis considers the institutional specificity of the function, concluding that it is the function, rather than the institution, that is indispensable. However, neither the advent of the Upper Tribunal nor the U.K. Supreme Court suggest at this stage that the Court's performance of that function is waning.
Supervisor: Walker, Neil ; Himsworth, Chris Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: law ; judicial review ; constitutional law ; administrative law