New edition of Administrative Law published

The fifth edition of Administrative Law has been published by Oxford University Press. The new edition is co-written by Melbourne Law School Associate Professor Jason N.E. Varuhas and Professor Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law at the University of Cambridge.

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Administrative Law is one of the leading texts on English administrative law, being a prescribed course text at many UK law schools, and a reference point for those in the UK and across the common law world looking for an authoritative account of the subject. The text provides comprehensive coverage of the subject combined with penetrating commentary. Importantly, the text offers a sound conceptual framework to guide readers as they navigate the subject. Rather than simply presenting administrative law as a straightforward body of legal rules, the text considers the subject as an expression of underlying constitutional and other policy concerns, which fundamentally shape the relationship between the citizen and the state. The result is a fascinating account of a subject of crucial importance.

New to this edition

Every chapter has been thoroughly updated, and many chapters have been substantially rewritten. In particular, chapter 15, on the liability of public authorities, has been rewritten. It now focusses on a more select range of issues, and draws out common themes that emerge across the different fields of liability, offering deep insight into the law governing public authority liability and encouraging readers to engage with core issues in greater and more critical depth. Parts of chapter 8, which deals with substantive judicial review, have been fundamentally recast in the light of recent Supreme Court judgments concerning the relationship between the Wednesbury reasonableness and proportionality doctrines and the likely future trajectory of this bellwether area of administrative law.

The chapter on jurisdiction takes account of the key Supreme Court decisions in R (Cart) v. Upper Tribunal [2011] UKSC 28 [2012] 1 AC 663 (which is addressed too in the chapters on tribunals and restrictions on remedies) and R (Jones) v. First-tier Tribunal [2013] UKSC 19 [2013] 2 AC 48. The same Court’s path-breaking judgment in Braganza v. BP Shipping Ltd [2015] UKSC 17 [2015] 1 WLR 1661 is examined in the chapter on the scope of public law principles, which also includes a new discussion of the public law-private law distinction.

The chapter on retention of discretion discusses recent developments in the law on delegation of decision-making power, including the Supreme Court decision in R (Bourgass) v. Secretary of State for Justice [2015] UKSC 54 [2015] 3 WLR 457. The same chapter identifies and examines a sea change in the judicial approach to policy which today, far from being considered a threat to discretionary decision-making, is often seen by the courts as a tool for disciplining the exercise of administrative discretion so that it conforms to the rule of law values of certainty, consistency and openness. Such considerations are, of course, also in play in respect of legitimate expectations; the chapter dealing with that area identifies a number of emergent trends and charts a series of crucial recent developments, including the Court of Appeal’s important judgment in R (Patel) v. General Medical Council [2013] EWCA Civ 327 [2013] 1 WLR 2801. Chapter 7, which addresses the improper purpose and relevant considerations doctrines, includes a new discussion of the interaction between the longstanding principle that statutory powers must be exercised consistently with statutory purposes, and newer doctrines requiring adoption of rights-consistent interpretations of legislation. Meanwhile, the chapter on procedural fairness takes account of a number of important recent decisions including that of the Supreme Court in R (Osborn) v. Parole Board [2013] UKSC 61 [2014] AC 1115, and a new section has been added on the fast-developing jurisprudence on the law of consultation.

There have been important developments in relation to the procedure by which judicial review is undertaken and the restrictions that apply to judicial review. In this area, the book charts the increasingly significant impact of human rights claims on core features of the judicial review procedure, and the pressure such claims have placed on (what remains of) the procedural distinction between public and private law. The book’s examination of restrictions on remedies takes account of new limitations introduced following recent government consultations on judicial review that were animated by concerns about the volume of judicial review challenges being brought and the abuse of judicial review for political ends. In particular, the likely implications of the statutory ‘no difference’ principle inserted into the Senior Courts Act 1981 by s 84 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. The book’s analysis of the law of standing has been substantially rewritten, not least in order to take account of the Supreme Court’s landmark judgments in AXA v. Scottish Ministers [2011] UKSC 46 [2012] 1 AC 868 and Walton v. Scottish Ministers [2012] UKSC 44 [2013] PTSR 51, while the chapter on remedies notes a series of interesting developments in the law governing stays of proceedings and injunctions in judicial review proceedings.

Finally, the chapters dealing with administrative justice mechanisms — ombudsmen, tribunals and inquiries — have also been thoroughly updated and, in places, rewritten to take account of developments in those areas, including recent and proposed changes to various public sector ombudsmen systems, and the enhanced role now played by the Upper Tribunal in immigration-related matters.

Further information about the fifth edition of Administrative Law can be found on the Oxford University Press website.