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Chapter

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

1. Introduction  

Evidence is information by which facts tend to be proved, and the law of evidence is that body of law and discretion regulating the means by which facts may be proved in both courts of law and tribunals and arbitrations in which the strict rules of evidence apply. This introductory chapter discusses truth and the fact-finding process and explains how getting to the truth in court is hampered by practical constraints, the adversarial system, the rules of evidence themselves, and the fact that litigation is a human endeavour that necessarily provides scope for differences of opinion, error, deceit, and lies. The chapter also contains a brief history of the development of the law to date.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

9. Errors of law and control of fact finding  

Administrative authorities deciding someone’s legal position must determine what the law is, and find the facts, and apply the law to the facts. This chapter asks how the courts control the exercise of power involved in each of those three elements of the application of the law. The chapter explains the famous decision of the House of Lords in the Anisminic case, and explains why that decision does not support the doctrine of ‘review for error of law’, which is commonly thought to have been established in Anisminic. The chapter explains why a power to apply the law is a discretionary power and concludes with a discussion of the fundamental union (downplayed and sometimes denied by the judges) between judicial review for error of law and other forms of control of discretionary power.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

2. Jurisdiction  

Mark Elliott and Jason Varuhas

This chapter focuses on jurisdiction, beginning with the distinction between jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional matters. In particular, it considers whether something falls into the ‘jurisdictional’ or ‘merits’ question and how to decide into which category a given matter should be placed. It then examines the power to detain illegal entrants and how to determine whether a particular individual is an illegal entrant. It also discusses jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional errors of law and goes on to review one of the most celebrated cases in modern administrative law: the decision of the House of Lords in Anisminic Ltd v. Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 AC 147. The chapter concludes with an analysis of errors of law as jurisdictional errors; the institutional status of the decision-maker; the nature of the statutory provision; applying statutory criteria to the facts; supervision of the fact-finding process; subjective jurisdictional criteria; and non-compliance with statutory requirements.