Chapter 13 Guidance to answering the end-of-chapter questions

Justice in the Modern Administrative State

1. What are the values and principles that underpin the administrative justice system and how are those evidenced in each of the dispute resolution mechanisms addressed in this chapter?

  • Remember that the administrative justice system is often considered as a collection of methods that provide individuals with a means to seek redress when they believe that administrative/public law decisions that affect them have been wrongly made or are unfair.
  • How many of the key values or principles can you name? For example, fairness, transparency etc. See Figure 13.1 on p. 386 for more.
  • Which values or principles can you see in mediation? How transparent is mediation, for example?
  • What do you recall about the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the terms ‘maladministration’ and ‘injustice’? Do you remember the principles of good administration laid down by the Parliamentary Ombudsman?
  • Why was the tribunal sector integrated into the judicial system and has this worked? Consider, for example, Drewy’s criticisms of the Franks reform on p. 407. What further reforms did the Legatt Review lead to? How do tribunals differ from courts?
  • What can you remember about the tribunals of inquiry and what opportunities might these provide in terms of e.g. reconciliation and accountability?
  • Review each dispute resolution mechanism discussed on pp. to 388–414 for help with any of these points.

2. What is the relationship between each of the dispute resolution mechanisms and the public law decision-makers whose decisions give rise to the grievance?

  • Think about the term ‘administrative justice’. What do you understand this term to mean and is this an uncontested term? (See pp. 386–387)
  • Consider the differences and similarities of each of the dispute resolution mechanisms covered in question 1. How would you describe the parties to each of these?
  • Which constitutional bodies or powers represent the decision-makers whose decisions can be challenged through these mechanisms? Who is entitled to complain about their decisions?

3. To what extent can it be said that the courts set the parameters within which all the other limbs of the administrative justice system operate?

  • To answer this question, think about the role of the courts in setting out the limits or power of each of the other limbs of the administrative justice system.
  • For example, are the recommendations of the Parliamentary Ombudsman legally binding? Review the Court of Appeal decision in Bradley v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (explained on p. 404).
  • Are the decisions of the Parliamentary Ombudsman subject to judicial review by the courts?
  • Can tribunals be claimed to be an alternative to the court system?
  • What does it mean to say that inquiries are creatures of politics?

4. To what extent is the rule of law strengthened or weakened as a result of use of each of these dispute resolution mechanisms?

  • Before you try to answer this question, think back to your understanding of the rule of law. What aspect of the rule of law is upheld by any or all of these dispute resolution mechanisms?
  • When mediation is used all material discussed and the outcome reached remain confidential to those involved. How does this fit with your understanding of the rule of law? For inspiration, see the criticisms set out by Broydon on p. 389.
  • Do citizens have direct access to the Ombudsman? (See p. 395 and pp. 405–406).
  • What criticisms can be made of inquiries? For example, are the findings and recommendations binding or can the government decide whether to act on the recommendation of an inquiry report? (See pp. 414–415).
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