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Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

7. Abuse of Discretion I  

Mark Elliott and Jason Varuhas

This chapter examines principles of administrative law which seek to prevent abuse of discretion. It first considers the notion that there is no such thing as an unfettered discretion before discussing two key principles that encourage a mode of administration which is faithful to the legislative scheme set out by Parliament: those which require decision-makers to act only on the basis of factors which are legally relevant, and those which dictate that statutory powers may be used only for the purposes for which they were created. It also explores the propriety of purpose doctrine and the relevancy doctrine, citing a number of relevant cases such as Padfield v. Minister of Agrictulture, Fisheries and Food [1968] AC 997.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

5. Retention of Discretion  

Mark Elliott and Jason Varuhas

This chapter discusses the principles of administrative law which require decision-makers to retain the discretion which they are granted. It first considers the question of delegation of discretionary powers as well as the non-delegation principle before explaining the nature of delegation. It then examines the courts' approach with respect to departmental decision-making in central government and how far the discretionary freedom of the decision-maker designated by statute may be constrained by delegation and the adoption of policies. It also shows why it is often desirable or even necessary for decision-makers to exercise their discretion in line with a policy or a set of criteria. Finally, it looks at judicial moves towards ensuring that exercise of discretion is structured and legally constrained by publicly available policy. A number of relevant cases are cited throughout the chapter, including Barnard v. National Dock Labour Board [1953] 2 QB 18.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

7. Discretion and deference  

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

Cover Public Law

12. Judicial review: illegality  

This chapter considers ‘illegality’ as a ground of judicial review. Illegality is one of the three main grounds of judicial review as outlined by Lord Diplock in Council of Civil Service Unions & Others v Minister for the Civil Service. Broadly, the aim of this ground of judicial review is to ensure that public authorities act within the scope of their powers. This means that illegality is a wide ground of judicial review and is best considered as an umbrella term for a range of different ways in which a decision by a public authority can be challenged. A decision can be challenged under this ground of judicial review on the basis that the public authority lacks the power to make the decision in the first place, or if it does have the power, then the power has been exercised incorrectly.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

8. Substantive unlawfulness  

This chapter shows that judges must substitute their own judgment for that of an administrative authority on some issues, in order to give effect to the principle of legality. When there is reason for non-deferential judicial review, deference would mean abandoning the rule of law. The more interventionist grounds on which judges will control the substance of some decisions—relevance, proportionality, and legitimate expectations—may involve little deference, depending on the type of decision and the context in which it is made. Each of these interventionist doctrines gives the judges the opportunity to do justice for a claimant and to improve public administration. For the very same reasons, each doctrine poses a danger that the judges will make themselves into surrogate administrators by overextending the grounds of judicial review.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional and Administrative Law

14. The grounds for judicial review  

This chapter considers the grounds on which public decisions may be challenged before the courts. It begins with an overview of two cases—Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corpn (1948) and Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service (1985). The importance of these two cases is their distillation of the general principles. The discussion then covers the different grounds for judicial review: illegality, relevant/irrelevant considerations, fiduciary duty, fettering of a discretion, improper purpose, bad faith, irrationality, proportionality, procedural impropriety, natural justice, legitimate expectations, the right to a fair hearing, reasons, and the rule against bias. It is noted that principles often overlap, so that a challenge to a public law decision may be based on different principles.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Anisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 AC 147, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Anisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 AC 147, House of Lords. This case note deals with how the House of Lords interpreted an ouster clause, a statutory provision which seeks to prevent judicial supervision of decisions made by subordinate decision-making bodies, and considers the wider constitutional implications of the courts’ approach to ouster clauses. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Padfield v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food [1968] AC 997, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Padfield v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food [1968] AC 997, House of Lords. This case is concerned with the scope and limits of ministerial discretion, and how, in the case of statutory powers, the courts determine this with reference to the intentions of Parliament and the objectives of the Act in question. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Anisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 AC 147, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Anisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 AC 147, House of Lords. This case note deals with how the House of Lords interpreted an ouster clause, a statutory provision which seeks to prevent judicial supervision of decisions made by subordinate decision-making bodies, and considers the wider constitutional implications of the courts’ approach to ouster clauses. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

23. Statutory Tribunals  

Sir William Wade and Christopher Forsyth

Tribunals have attracted the attention of the legislature on several occasions, most recently with the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which implements far reaching and fundamental reforms seeking to impose system and order on the maze of specialised tribunals. This chapter discusses the 2007 reforms, the procedure of tribunals, and appeals on questions of law and discretion.

Chapter

Cover Wade & Forsyth's Administrative Law

23. Statutory Tribunals  

Sir William Wade, Christopher Forsyth, and Julian Ghosh

Tribunals have attracted the attention of the legislature on several occasions, most recently with the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which implements far reaching and fundamental reforms seeking to impose system and order on the maze of specialised tribunals. This chapter discusses the 2007 reforms, the procedure of tribunals and appeals on questions of law and discretion.

Book

Cover Administrative Law

Mark Elliott and Jason N. E. Varuhas

Administrative Law Text and Materials combines carefully selected extracts from key cases, articles, and other sources with detailed commentary. This book provides comprehensive coverage of the subject and brings together in one volume the best features of a textbook and a casebook. Rather than simply presenting administrative law as a straightforward body of legal rules, the text considers the subject as an expression of underlying constitutional and other policy concerns, which fundamentally shape the relationship between the citizen and the state. Topics covered include: jurisdiction, the status of unlawful administrative action, public law principles, abuses of discretion, fairness, remedies, and the liability of public authorities.

Chapter

Cover Complete Public Law

16. Illegality  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. This chapter examines ‘illegality’ as a ground for judicial review. Central to judicial review is the idea of ultra vires, which is the principle that public authorities have to act within their legal powers and that if they act or fail to act consistently with their legal powers, they will be acting unlawfully. Case law on the exercise of discretionary powers by public authorities is discussed in depth. In addition, the public-sector equality duty in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 is explained. The concept of jurisdiction and the distinction between error of law and error of fact are also included under this ground of review.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

Padfield v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food [1968] AC 997, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Padfield v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food [1968] AC 997, House of Lords. This case is concerned with the scope and limits of ministerial discretion, and how, in the case of statutory powers, the courts determine this with reference to the intentions of Parliament and the objectives of the Act in question. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional and Administrative Law

19. Police powers  

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) confers many powers upon the police. This chapter discusses the Codes of Practice of PACE, police powers of stop and search, the power to arrest members of the public, and the powers to enter property. Whether or not a particular power is exercised will be a matter for the discretion of an individual officer. The exercise of this discretion and the extent to which this is subject to review by the courts will be examined. Finally, the chapter looks at two offences under section 89 of PACE which may be committed against the police: assaulting an officer and wilful obstruction of an officer.

Chapter

Cover Public Law Concentrate

11. Grounds for judicial reviewIllegality  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter looks at the classification of grounds for judicial review, illegality, ultra vires, jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional error, subjective discretion and the ultra vires doctrine, improper purpose with or without express stipulation in the empowering statute, mixed motives, relevant and irrelevant considerations with or without express stipulation in the empowering statute, lack of evidence, and unlawful failure to exercise a discretionary power by policy, estoppel based on a representation made by an official, agreement, or wrongful delegation.