An Introduction to Administrative Law

By Peter Cane | Go to book overview
Save to active project




JUDICIAL review is mainly concerned with decisions.1 Decisions may concern the making of an order or a rule, the issue of a licence or a certificate, and so on; and they may concern the exercise of a discretion or the performance of a duty. Even where the applicant complains that he or she has been treated in a disadvantageous way, in legal terms the complaint will typically focus on a decision to treat him or her in that way. The making of any particular decision can usefully be conceived of as a process with a beginning, an end, and a route from one to the other. Correspondingly, it is possible to divide the grounds of judicial review into three groups concerned with the beginning of the process (did the decision-maker have authority to embark on the process?), the end (or 'output') of the process (is the decision itself objectionable on grounds which justify judicial intervention?) and the route from the beginning to the end (what 'inputs' went into the making of the decision? and was the procedure followed fair?) In this chapter we are concerned with the first of these issues. No governmental institution in Britain has power to make any and every decision it chooses, although Parliament has very wide decision-making freedom. Administrative bodies, with which we are primarily concerned, all have only limited authority.

It is often said (e.g. J. Bell in K. Hawkins (ed), The Uses of Discretion ( Oxford, 1992), 107) that in focussing on individual decisions as if they were discrete events, the law tends to ignore the wider context in which decisions are made as part of a process. Treating decisions as isolated events may lead courts to enunciate rules governing the making of decisions which are difficult to implement in practice or which have unexpected and undesirable side-effects.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
An Introduction to Administrative Law


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 401

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?