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Administrative law includes a complex variety of processes and doctrines that confer and control public power. This chapter outlines the underlying principles of administrative law. Topics discussed include arbitrary government and the core of administrative law, administration, the principle of relativity, the principles of the constitution, system principles, accountability, and Europe and the principles of the constitution.

Chapter

Administrative law includes a complex variety of processes and doctrines that confer and control public power. This chapter outlines the underlying principles of administrative law. Topics discussed include the core principle of administrative law: opposition to arbitrary use of power. That principle is introduced through the story of habeas corpus from the middle ages to the twenty-first century. The constitutional principles of administrative law also include parliamentary sovereignty, the separation of powers, the rule of law, comity among constitutional authorities, accountability, and a newly emerging principle of open government. The chapter shows how the common law and legislation can achieve adherence to these principles of administrative law.

Chapter

This chapter discusses how judges can defer in appropriate ways to administrative authorities on some issues, while still opposing abuses of power. The chapter explains why the courts defer massively to administrative authorities on some issues involving foreign affairs and national security, public expenditure, planning, and legal and political processes. The mere fact that the law has allocated the power to an administrative body gives rise to a presumption that a court should not interfere unless there is a ground for review other than that the court would have reached a decision; the extent to which a court ought to defer is determined by the three reasons for allocating power to an administrative body: the body’s expertise, its political responsibility, and/or its decision-making processes.

Chapter

This chapter discusses how judges can defer in appropriate ways to administrative authorities on some issues, while still opposing abuses of power. The chapter explains why the courts defer massively to administrative authorities on some issues involving foreign affairs and national security, public expenditure, planning, and legal and political processes. The mere fact that the law has allocated the power to an administrative body gives rise to a presumption that a court should not interfere unless there is a ground for review other than that the court would have reached a decision. The extent to which a court ought to defer is determined by the three reasons for allocating power to an administrative body: the body’s expertise, its political responsibility, and/or its decision-making processes.

Chapter

Mark Elliott and Jason Varuhas

This chapter examines the status of unlawful administrative action, and more specifically whether unlawful administrative action is void or voidable. It first considers the practical and theoretical arguments that address the ‘void or voidable’ question by focusing on the case of Boddington v. British Transport Police [1999] 2 AC 143, along with four post-Boddington decisions. It then discusses the nature of voidness, with particular emphasis on the presumption of validity and the principle of legal relativity. It also explores the divergent theoretical perspectives upon administrative law that underpin the different approaches that writers adopt to the status of unlawful administrative acts. Finally, it looks at voidness in relation to collateral challenge and suggests that the disagreements regarding the status of unlawful administrative action, at least to some extent, pertain not to what constitutes a desirable outcome but to the form of judicial reasoning that prefigures the reaching of the outcome.

Chapter

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter first explores the concept of relativity of title. It demonstrates how the concept is closely linked to the law relating to adverse possession, by showing how the squatter's interest in the land can turn into true/sole ownership. It then describes how the Land Registration Act 2002 dramatically reduced the circumstances in which title can be acquired by adverse possession when title to the land is registered. The chapter also discusses the two main reasons why adverse possession remains a live concept. First, it is alive and well where title is not registered. Landowners whose titles are not registered may still lose them to squatters. The second reason is that adverse possession still plays a restricted role in registered title, For one thing, there may still be cases where title to land was lost to a squatter before the Land Registration Act 2002 came into force in October 2003. Transitional provisions were designed to ensure that there should be no difficulty in the squatter applying now for his title to be registered.

Chapter

This chapter illustrates the principle of relativity by explaining why public authorities may or may not be required to give reasons for their decisions, depending on the type of decision and its context. The reasons why public authorities should sometimes explain their reasons for a decision reflect the three process values explained in Chapter 4: requiring reasons may improve decisions, it may be unfair (to a person affected by the decision) for the decision to be unexplained, and reasons may support judicial review, and may improve transparency and accountability in government in other ways. The discussions cover the deprivation principle, the duty of respect, trigger factors for reasons, the Padfield practicality principle, the content of reasons, how to remedy inadequate reasons, process danger, and the difference between process and substance, and why it matters.

Chapter

This chapter illustrates the principle of relativity by explaining why public authorities may or may not be required to give reasons for their decisions, depending on the type of decision and its context. The reasons why public authorities should sometimes explain their reasons for a decision reflect the process values explained in Chapter 4: requiring reasons may improve decisions, it may be unfair (to a person affected by the decision) for the decision to be unexplained, and reasons may support judicial review, and may improve transparency and accountability in government in other ways. The discussions cover the deprivation principle, the duty of respect, trigger factors for reasons, the Padfield practicality principle, the content of reasons, how to remedy inadequate reasons, process danger, and the difference between process and substance, and why the difference matters.

Chapter

This chapter explains the nature of land as a legal concept, as well as the nature of rights in land. Land includes both corporeal things — such as land and buildings — and incorporeal things, such as rights over land. Property rights in relation to land come in two forms: estates and interests. Estates are rights which a person holds in their ‘own land’, while interests are rights which a person holds in relation to another's land. Both of these are proprietary; proprietary interests are those rights which are capable of having third party effects. Therefore, the crucial distinction between personal and property rights is about the effect that these rights can have on third parties. The chapter then looks at the numerus clausus (closed list) of property rights. If a right is not part of this list, then it is licence. Licences are the generic category of rights that relate to land but which are not property rights. The four categories of licence include estoppel licences, bare licences, contractual licences, and licences coupled with an interest. The chapter concludes by exploring the concept of relativity of title in English land law.

Chapter

This chapter explores English land law's understanding of the concept of ‘ownership’ of land as developed through the freehold estate. As the freehold is the most extensive possible right in relation to land, it is important to know what it entails. The chapter first looks at the modern understanding of what freehold owners are entitled to do in relation to their land, before considering the space encompassed within the freehold title. It also studies the rights of re-entry and reversion which form the residual entitlement of a freehold once possession has been granted to another. In unregistered land, relativity of title is used to determine the relationship between multiple freeholds. In registered land, while the principle of relativity of title is still crucially important when dealing with multiple ‘off-register’ possessors, where title is registered, the Court of Appeal has suggested that such titles rank equally until the register is changed. The chapter then assesses how freeholds are transferred, and describes the concepts of the commonhold and flying freehold. It concludes by explaining the process of termination of the freehold estate.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on adverse possession, which is the obtention of title to land by means of possession without permission. It is the natural and logical consequence of the combination of the principle of relativity of title and of limitation (time limits) on actions. The chapter then analyses the rules relating to adverse possession, considering both unregistered land and registered land. Adverse possession is one of the few areas where the unregistered land rules are still regularly taught. The chapter also looks at the special situation which emerges when the rules on adverse possession interact with leases. Moreover, it examines the relationship between the adverse possession rules and criminal law. Finally, the chapter explores the justifications or explanations behind adverse possession, including the relationship between these rules and human rights.