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Cover Administrative Law

11. Giving Reasons for Decisions  

Mark Elliott and Jason Varuhas

This chapter examines the content and scope of the duty to give reasons, suggesting that giving reasons for decisions should be treated as a central facet of procedural fairness in administrative law. It first differentiates the duty to give reasons from the duty to give notice, the possibility of inferring unreasonableness from an absence of reasons, the proportionality doctrine, and the duty of candour. It then considers why reasons are required and goes on to discuss the duty to give reasons at common law. It also describes statutory duties and other duties to give reasons, paying attention to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Finally, it analyzes the question of whether a duty to give reasons has been discharged, and provides an overview of the remedial consequences of a breach of the duty to give reasons.