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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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The Public Interest in Regulation

ISBN13: 9780199269020
ISBN: 0199269025
Published: November 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £89.00

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The concept of 'the public interest' is often used in legal and political discourse, lending an air of legitimacy and respectability to exercises of power. However the term is rarely defined in any meaningful sense. Even where it has the appearance of a term of art in legal or regulatory usage, it may, in reality be no more than an empty vessel, waiting to be filled with whatever values the user wishes.

This lack of definition renders the concept vulnerable to capture by interest groups, quite contrary to the collective values that the term seems to imply. This book considers whether these problems with the concept's current usage are inevitable and inherent, or whether it is possible to reinvigorate it. Feintuck begins by considering a variety of abstract concepts of public interest from the literature of law, political science, and economics. This exploration suggests a close relationship between a meaningful model of public interest and central democratic values such as citizenship. However the dominant models fail to reflect these expectations satisfactorily.

Using a series of case-studies of current regulatory activity in Britain and the USA, Feintuck then goes on to explore how the concept is use in practice. Finally, the actual and potential utility of the concept of public interest is evaluated. Feintuck then considers the legal forms in which the public interest might be manifested in order to offer legitimate and effective protection to vulnerable democratic values by the regulation of private power.

Constitutional and Administrative Law
1. How is the Public Interest Determined?
2. Towards a Cemocratic Vision of the Public Interest

3. The Public Interest in Regulatory Activity I: UK
4. The Public Interest in Regulatory Activity II: USA
5. Divided by a Common language: TransAtlantic Comparisons

6. The Holy Grail- or Just another Empty Vessel?
7. Reinvigorating the Public Interest