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R v MAFF ex parte Hamble Fisheries

[1995] 2 All ER 714

Case summary last updated at 08/01/2020 14:39 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v MAFF ex parte Hamble Fisheries

This case involved LEs. Sedley J said that LE was concerned with protection of the substance, not merely the procedure, of administrative decisions and adopted the “balancing” approach rejected by Laws J (above). 
 
Sedley J: The real question is one of fairness, and it is just as unfair to frustrate a LE that something will/wont be done, as it is to deprive someone of a LE that they will be involved in the procedure. “Legitimacy is itself a relative concept, to be gauged proportionately to the legal and policy implications of the expectation…Legitimacy in this sense is not an absolute. It is a function of expectations induced by government and of policy considerations which militate against their fulfilment. The balance must in the first instance be for the policy-maker to strike; but if the outcome is challenged by way of judicial review, I do not consider that the court's criterion is the bare rationality of the policy-maker's conclusion. While policy is for the policy-maker alone, the fairness of his or her decision not to accommodate reasonable expectations which the policy will thwart remains the court's concern”. This indicates a balancing exercise stronger than merely the Wednesbury rationality concept. 
 
Interesting side-point: Sedley J and Laws J argued this point against each other as barristers! 

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