Glasgow Forum for Scots Law

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The first meeting of the Glasgow Forum for Scots Law will take place on Wednesday 23 September at 3.30pm. All are welcome to attend.

Speaker: Dr Shona Wilson Stark, College Lecturer and Fellow in Law, Christ’s College, Cambridge
Topic: “To take and keep under review all the law: the Law Commissions’ exercise of discretion”

Abstract: This paper will consider how Law Commission projects are selected, and how they should be selected. The terms of the Law Commissions Act 1965 are exceptionally broad, mandating that the Commissions should “take and keep under review all the law” of their respective jurisdictions. In practice, the Commissions avoid certain projects, such as those which are more political than legal – although the line between the two is often blurred.

This paper will argue that the broad duty imposed by the 1965 Act should not be restricted. It will be argued, however, that the discretion to select certain projects necessarily implied by the 1965 Act must be structured. The paper will trace the history of the Commissions’ exercise of discretion, from relatively unsystematic project selection in their formative years, to the creation and development of non-legislative criteria for project selection from the mid-1990s onwards. The paper will propose how those criteria should be further developed in order to direct the Commissions’ finite (and diminished) resources to the most deserving projects, and will explain what, in the author’s view, those projects are.
Location: Room 134, Main Building, University of Glasgow (access via the Thompson (Anatomy) Building’s car park)

Livestream: If you are not able to join us in person you can watch a livestream of the session using this link:

You can also join in the discussion by tweeting using the hashtag #gfsl2015.


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