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This differs from a routine job not involving much discretion being done by civil servants in the minister's name, which is not considered delegation. An example of when this happened was in Allingham v Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries where a notice preventing farmers from growing sugar beet was unlawful because the power to put up the sign was delegated by the original committee. Where a decision is made by a properly empowered department within a local council, s.

The court will quash a decision where the authority has misunderstood a legal term or incorrectly evaluated a fact that is essential for deciding whether or not it has certain powers.

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So, in R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Khawaja [] AC 74, the House of Lords held that the question as to whether the applicants were "illegal immigrants" was a question of fact that had to be positively proved by the Home Secretary before he could use the power to expel them. The power depended on them being "illegal immigrants" and any error in relation to that fact took the Home Secretary outside his jurisdiction to expel them.

However, where a term to be evaluated by the authority so broad and vague that reasonable people may reasonably disagree about its meaning, it is generally for the authority to evaluate its meaning. For example, in R v Hillingdon Borough Council, ex Parte Pulhofer [] AC , the local authority had to provide homeless persons with accommodation. The applicants were a married couple, who lived with their two children in one room and applied to the local authority for aid. The local authority refused aid because it considered that the Pulhofers were not homeless and the House of Lords upheld this decision because whether the applicants had accommodation was a question of fact for the authority to determine.

The classic example of this is Attorney General v Fulham Corporation where Fulham council had the power to set up wash-houses for those without the facilities. They decided to charge people to use it. The court held they went beyond their power by trying to benefit commercially from something that was supposed to be for everyone. Section 1 of the Overseas Development and Co-operation Act empowered the Foreign Secretary to assign funds for development aid of economically sound projects.

The Secretary of State assigned the funds for a project to construct a power station on the Pergau River in Malaysia see Pergau Dam which was considered uneconomic and not sound. The House of Lords held that this was not the purpose envisaged by the enabling statute and the minister therefore exceeded his powers.

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This ground is closely connected to illegality as a result of powers being used for the wrong purpose. For example, in Wheeler v Leicester City Council , the city council banned a rugby club from using its ground because three of the club's members intended to go on a tour in South Africa at the time of apartheid. In R v Somerset County Council, ex parte Fewings the local authority decided to ban stag hunting on the grounds of it being immoral. In Padfield v Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food , the minister refused to mount an inquiry into a certain matter because he was afraid of bad publicity.

In R v Inner London Education Authority, ex parte Westminster City Council , [14] the London Education Authority used its powers to inform the public for the purpose of convincing the public of its political point of view. In all these cases, the authorities have based their decisions on considerations which were not relevant to their decision making power and acted unreasonably this may also be qualified as having used their powers for an improper purpose.

Note that the improper purpose or the irrelevant consideration must be such as to materially influence the decision. Where the improper purpose is not of such material influence, the authority may be held to be acting within its lawful discretion. Hence in R v Broadcasting Complaints Commission, ex parte Owen [] QB , the broadcasting authority refused to consider a complaint that a political party has been given too little broadcasting time mainly for good reasons, but also with some irrelevant considerations, which however were not of material influence on the decision. An authority will be acting unreasonably where it refuses to hear applications or makes certain decisions without taking individual circumstances into account by reference to a certain policy.

When an authority is given discretion, it cannot bind itself as to the way in which this discretion will be exercised either by internal policies or obligations to others. Even though an authority may establish internal guidelines, it should be prepared to make exceptions on the basis of every individual case. Under Lord Diplock's classification, a decision is irrational if it is "so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it.

Unlike illegality and procedural impropriety, the courts under this head look at the merits of the decision, rather than at the procedure by which it was arrived at or the legal basis on which it was founded. The question to ask is whether the decision "makes sense".

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In many circumstances listed under "illegality", the decision may also be considered irrational. Proportionality is a requirement that a decision is proportionate to the aim that it seeks to achieve. For example, an order to forbid a protest march on the grounds of public safety should not be made if there is an alternative way of protecting public safety, such as by assigning an alternative route for the march.

Proportionality exists as a ground for setting aside administrative decisions in most continental legal systems and is recognised in England in cases where issues of EU law and human rights are involved. However, it is not as yet a separate ground of judicial review, although Lord Diplock has alluded to the possibility of it being recognised as such in the future. At present, lack of proportionality may be used as an argument for a decision being irrational.

A decision suffers from procedural impropriety if in the process of its making the procedures prescribed by statute have not been followed or if the "rules of natural justice " have not been adhered to. An Act of Parliament may subject the making of a certain decision to a procedure, such as the holding of a public hearing or inquiry, [17] or a consultation with an external adviser. Courts distinguish between "mandatory" requirements and "directory" requirements.

A breach of mandatory procedural requirements will lead to a decision being set aside for procedural impropriety. The rules of natural justice require that the decision maker approaches the decision making process with "fairness".

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What is fair in relation to a particular case may differ. Below are some examples of what the rules of natural justice require:. The first basic rule of natural justice is that nobody may be a judge in his own case. If such interest is present, the decision maker must be disqualified even if no actual bias can be shown, i. Whether or not a person was given a fair hearing of his case will depend on the circumstances and the type of the decision to be made.

The minimum requirement is that the person gets the chance to present his case. If the applicant has certain legitimate expectations , for example to have his licence renewed, the rules of natural justice may also require that they are given an oral hearing and that their request may not be rejected without giving reasons. This was the principle in the case of Ridge v Baldwin [] AC Unlike many other legal systems, English administrative law does not recognise a general duty to give reasons for a decision of a public authority.

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Where it is not, common law may imply such a duty and the courts do so particularly with regard to judicial and quasi-judicial decisions. A legitimate expectation will arise when a person or a group or class of persons has been led by a policy, promise or representation of a public body to understand that, for example, certain steps will be followed in reaching a decision. The court may uphold not only a legitimate expectation that a certain procedure would be followed by a public body "procedural" expectations , but also an expectation of some substantive benefit.

In a leading case in on the latter point, Ms Coughlan, having been badly injured in a car accident, was promised a "home for life" by the health authority when she was transferred from the hospital to a care home. When the authority tried to evict her later, the court held the authority to their promise, since to frustrate Ms Coughlan's legitimate expectation would be unfair in the circumstances.

It has been suggested that proportionality which is now expressly cited as a doctrine of review only in human rights cases and cases with an EU dimension should become a separate general head of review. There is some authority for the proposition that the courts employ a normative legal concept of "moral desert". Dr Kennefick of Queen's College, Oxford has posited that the essential question that the courts ask themselves is this: "did they deserve it?


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A quashing order formerly a writ of certiorari nullifies a decision which has been made by a public body. The effect is to make the decision completely invalid. Such an order is usually made where an authority has acted outside the scope of its powers ultra vires. The most common order made in successful judicial review proceedings is a quashing order.

Very rarely, if there is no purpose in sending the case back, it may take the decision itself. A prohibiting order formerly a writ of prohibition is similar to a quashing order in that it prevents a tribunal or authority from acting beyond the scope of its powers. The key difference is that a prohibiting order acts prospectively by telling an authority not to do something in contemplation.

Examples of where prohibiting orders may be appropriate include stopping the implementation of a decision in breach of natural justice, or to prevent a local authority licensing indecent films, or to prevent the deportation of someone whose immigration status has been wrongly decided. A mandatory order formerly a writ of mandamus compels public authorities to fulfill their duties.


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Whereas quashing and prohibition orders deal with wrongful acts, a mandatory order addresses wrongful failure to act. A mandatory order is similar to a mandatory injunction below as they are orders from the court requiring an act to be performed. Failure to comply is punishable as a contempt of court. Examples of where a mandatory order might be appropriate include: compelling an authority to assess a disabled person's needs, to approve building plans, or to improve conditions of imprisonment. A mandatory order may be made in conjunction with a quashing order, for example, where a local authority's decision is quashed because the decision was made outside its powers, the court may simultaneously order the local authority to remake the decision within the scope of its powers.

Introduction II. Article 2: A Right to Health Treatment? Article 3: Respect for Human Dignity D. Undue Delay ii. Article 49 EC Treaty V. Stare Decisis G. Ultra Vires or Rights? Justification, Transparency and Reasons to Defer C.


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Introduction A. Section 17 Children Act Accommodating Children and their. More generally, those with an interest in the operation of the HRA and the key debates surrounding that instrument will also gain much from this work. The interest in this book lies in the breadth of the context in which her analysis is placed Although Palmer's study is one of social rights protection under the Human Rights Act, it begins with valuable accounts of the debate about how best to protect social rights, dealing with a number of familiar arguments