The Public Interest in Regulation

Hardcover | July 20, 2005

byMike Feintuck

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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 regulatoryusage, 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 considerswhether 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 thedominant 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 isevaluated. 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.

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From the Publisher

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 regulatoryusage, it may, in reality be no more than an empt...

Dr Mike Feintuck is Professor of Law at the University of Hull.

other books by Mike Feintuck

Format:HardcoverDimensions:292 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.86 inPublished:July 20, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199269025

ISBN - 13:9780199269020

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Table of Contents

List of AbbreviationsI: The Analytical Framework1. How is the Public Interest Determined?2. Towards a Democratic Vision of the Public InterestII: Case Studies of Public Interest Regulation3. The Public Interest in Regulatory Practice: the UK4. The Public Interest in Regulatory Practice: the USA5. Anglo-American ComparisonsIII: Synthesis and Conclusions6. A Coherent Concept of the Public Interest in Regualtion7. Wider Applications of the Public Interest8. Summary and ConclusionsReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"We are indebted to Mike Feintuck for a sustained and focused examination of the legal literature's varied perspectives on the public interest."--The Law and Politics Book Review