An Introduction to Administrative Law

By Peter Cane | Go to book overview

SECTION A
THE AVAILABILITY OF JUDICIAL REVIEW

1
The Nature of Judicial Review

INTRODUCTION

THIS book is chiefly about checking and control of governmental activities and the redress of grievances against government. Another way of putting this is to say that we are concerned with techniques for holding government accountable for what it does. It should be said at the outset that none of the terms 'check', 'control' or 'render accountable' has a single clear meaning: there are several ways of checking and controlling and several types of accountability. This book concentrates on legal control by the courts, but the role and significance of judicial control cannot properly be understood without examining its relationship to alternative methods of control; and so, in Part IV, certain non-judicial controls will also be considered. Although the focus will be on control of governmental activities, the definition of this term is by no means a straightforward matter, as we will see in Chapter 2.

Three other important limits on the scope of this book should be noted. First, it is mainly concerned with English law1 and with English governmental, legal and political institutions: despite the fact that in constitutional and governmental terms the United Kingdom is, for many purposes, a single unit, there are respects in which Scotland and Northern Ireland deserve separate treatment which they will not receive. On the other hand, it is impossible to give a full account of English law without discussing the impact of European Community law, and this will receive attention at various points. Secondly, this book is primarily about constitutional and administrative law and about governmental

____________________
1
In legal and constitutional terms, ' England' means ' England and Wales'.

-3-

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