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Public law and popular justice

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Group litigation is becoming commonplace. Rules of standing have been relaxed to allow groups to bring representative actions on behalf of their members or to act 'in the public interest'. Groups increasingly intervene in actions between third parties, presenting amicus briefs. This article traces the origins of group action in courts and speculates on the possible effects of changes which blur traditional distinctions between legal and political process, concluding that the legal process must be kept broadly within traditional boundaries, if the qualities of independence, rationality and finality for which it is valued are to be maintained.

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