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‘It is readily apparent that the execution of legislation may require the grant of discretionary power to a minister or an agency. Parliament may not be able to foresee all the eventualities and flexibility may be required to implement the legislation. The legislature will of necessity grant power subject to conditions […] Herein lies the modern conceptual justification for judicial intervention. It was designed to ensure that those to whom such grants of power were made did not transgress the sovereign will of Parliament.’
‘… [judicial review] does not allow the court … to examine the evidence with a view to forming its own view about the substantial merits of the case. It may be that the tribunal whose decision is being challenged has done something which it had no lawful authority to do. It may have abused or misused the authority which it had. It may have departed from the procedures which either by statute or at common law as matter of fairness it ought to have observed. As regards the decision itself it may be found to be perverse, or irrational, or grossly disproportionate to what was required. Or the decision may be found to be erroneous in respect of a legal deficiency, as for example, through the absence of evidence, or of sufficient evidence, to support it, or through account being taken of irrelevant matter, or through a failure for any reason to take account of a relevant matter, or through some misconstruction of the terms of the statutory provision which the decision-maker is required to apply. But while the evidence may have to be explored in order to see if the decision is vitiated by such legal deficiencies it is perfectly clear that in a case of review, as distinct from an ordinary appeal, the court may not set about forming its own preferred view of the evidence.’The 2000 edition of the Treasury Solicitors’ publication, The Judge Over Your Shoulder provides a useful description of who is affected by administrative law stating that:
‘1.2 “Administrative” or “public” law governs the acts of public bodies and the exercise of public functions. Public bodies include “non-departmental public bodies”, such as the Committee on Standards in Public Life, and Next Steps Agencies like HM Prison Service.The fourth edition of the publication also provides that:
1.3 Private sector bodies may also be subject to administrative law when they exercise a public function. Generally, bodies exercise public functions when they act and have authority to act for the collective benefit of the general public. The activities of City institutions with market regulatory functions, like the London Stock Exchange, are a good example.’
‘The Human Rights Act 1998 is part of administrative law because it governs the exercise of statutory powers by public authorities. For example, the Act has an important bearing on the way in which those powers are to be interpreted. The devolution legislation is part of administrative law for the same reason. Likewise European Community (EC) law may be relevant to the exercise of statutory Powers.’
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