A more recent version of these Jr Theory notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.
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What is the purpose of admin law?
1) Designed to control of govt. power, with the main object to protect individual rights 2) Designed to ensure admin effectively performs its tasks 3) Designed to ensure govt. accountability and foster participation by interested parties in decision making process
= Cane- identifies the purpose in terms of grounds for JR a. Fair hearing & rules against bias?fair procedures should be followed in performance of public function +
public functionaries should observe legal limits on their powers b. The referee -Lord Donaldson in Hammersmith and Fulham LBC - if a player has acted in breach of rules, referee will take some remedial actions. However, it's for him to express any view on the skill of the player or how he would have acted in his position. Good reason: Parliament delegated power to decision making body, not the court, and the body often has better expertise c. Legitimate expectations and compliance with HR ? should respect the rights of individuals (also you could say that control of government power under 2 also protects HRs )
= Craig: all 3 not wrong per se but incomplete - must go deeper, probe into the way society is ordered & identify political theory which it espouses. Concepts such as accountability, participation, rights don't have one meaning to be determined by some factual inquiry & it will differ depending on the type of democratic regime. Admin law is a combination of political world (philosophy underlying govt. policy shapes nature of admin law) combined with reactions of judiciary (courts determine constraints to be placed on exercise of admin power) Theoretical underpinnings
Very important when considering normative aspects of admin law in action. To provide justification for substantive action a judge must couch his reasoning in terms of legal principle and precedent which will be based upon political conception of constitutional ordering of UK
Theory plays a role in understanding past judicial actions & trying to find some form of coherence in a shifting &
controversial area of law. Raz would argue that finding such coherence is a necessary fundamental good which goes towards proving the truth and value of a given legal system.
Over the years a no of dichotomies have arisen from literature surrounding judicial actions in public context. Each has certain value in providing descriptive & normative structure to the law, but none is seen as panacea which answers fundamental questions of "what public law is/what it should seek to achieve".
Current tool applied is tRed light/Green Light dichotomy. Red/Green Light Theory
? Law is autonomous to and superior over politics;
? Admin state needs to be kept in check by the law
? The preferred way of doing this is through rule-based adjudication in courts
? The goal should be to enhance individual liberty where it's conceived a right to be left alone + absence of external constraints ?an idea of liberty best realized by having small govt. You don't have to be politically conservative to be a red-light theorist, but usually helps if you are.
? Seems to be built upon Diceyan conception of the role of courts to ensure that state doesn't exert too much control over general public and to guard against tyranny.
? Ultra vires principle, (in traditional sense) appears to be essentially red light theoretical foundation for JR
-built upon Diceyan conception of the Rule of Law (law should apply equally to all citizens &guard against arbitrary exercise of power). Conception of Parliamentary sovereignty here is a unitary one. All power essentially flows through the Parl. and all bodies simply fulfil its intent for which purpose they have been delegated power.
2. Green Light
? Law is nothing more than sophisticated (or elitist) discourse of politics, neither autonomous from politics nor superior to administration
? Public admin isn't a necessary evil to be tolerated, but a positive attribute to be welcomed
? The objective of admin law and regulation isn't merely to stop bad admin practices, but is to encourage and facilitate good ones ---to control admin by channelling & guiding. The best people for this won't necessarily be professional lawyers &best institutions in which to achieve these aims won't necessarily be the courts, and best vehicle through which to realize these objectives won't necessarily be rule-based adjudication
? The goal should be to enhance individual & collective liberty where it's conceived of as something which is, if not constituted by state, then is at least facilitated by it, and certainly isn't threatened by it. SO the goal might be to house the homeless, feed the hungry, care for the sick, educate the young, and the role of admin law is to help it do this, to distinguish between good & bad admin practices, and encourage & facilitate the former as well minimize the latter
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