Governmental and Private Advocates for the Public Interest in Civil Litigation: A Comparative Study

This article examines the means by which public and group interests are represented in civil proceedings throughout the world. I have focused particular attention upon the Ministère public–a French institution imported by a large number of countries–and its analogues, the Attorney General in the common-law countries and the Prokuratura in the socialist world. The Ministère public is, and has been through its centuries-long history, an institutional method for assuring that the “public interest”–or the “collective” or “general interest,” or the “social concern”–is adequately represented in civil litigation. Yet, other solutions have been utilized–to some extent, even in France–in lieu of (or in addition to) the Ministère public for providing adequate representation of meta-individual interests in civil proceedings.