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Jurisdiction Notes

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Exceeding Jurisdiction: Error of Law Endicott Reading:

9. Errors of law and control of fact finding

9.1 The discretionary power to determine the law

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R v Hull Uni Visitor ex p Page 1993: Courts took upon themselves a power to review exercises of administrative jurisdiction for error of law. That development was grounded on mistaken arguments of precedent, cannot be justified on grounds of cinsti principle. Error of law: refer here to a mistaken conclusion as to content of legal standard that PA has to apply in a case. Remarkable feature of novel error of law (that any error is enough) arose from myth about Anisminic

9.2 Anisminic: the myth

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Lord Diplock in Racal 1981: "...the old distinction between error of law that went to jurisdiction and errors of law that did not, was for practical purposes abolished. ANY error of law on matters of fact or admin policy would result in asking wrong question and so decision reached would be nullity." Lord Diplock in Mackman 1983: "Breakthrough of Anisminic was recognition by majority of this House that if a tribunal whose jurisdiction was limited by statute or subordinate leg mistook law applicable to facts as it had found them, it must have asked itself the wrong question.' Lord BW endorsed Diplock's view in Page, his reasoning boils donw to: you can quash an error of law for error of law.

9.3 Anisminic: the decision

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Lord Wilberforce: approved Denning's 'A tribunal may often decide a point of law wrongly whilst keeping well within its jurisdiction.' Lord Reid: Stuck to his view in ex p Armah that neither an error in fact nor an error in law will destroy jurisdiction. BUT, can quash it not because error of law, but because of result of making an an error of law they dealt with matter which they had no right to deal with.' Lord Pearce: Decision maker will 'step outside jurisdiction' only if it asks itself the wrong question. All three did decide that PA decision was nullity. Why? Key to all confusion was 'ouster clause'. Commission only be challenged if 'determination' was not a determination at all. This is denying the undeniable, that commission made decision. Majority's decision takes a sound basic principle, and overextends it.

9.4 Anisnimic: the kernel of good sense

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Good point in Lords judgment is that a forged 'determination' is not a determination...but what is difference between a bad determination and no determination?
Lord Reid gives a list of things that would be nullity: ia bad faith, failed to comply with req of natural justice...refused to take into account something which it was required to take into account or may have based its decision on some matter which, under the provisions, it had no right to take into account: These last two are why Diplock misinterpreted the case because he thought that determination is null and void if ANY misconstruction, or irrelevant consideration, is involved (what Lord Reid probably

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