United Kingdom administrative law

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United Kingdom administrative law is a branch of UK public law concerned with the composition, procedures, powers, duties, rights and liabilities of public bodies that administer public policies.[1] The general principle is that a public official, or an "administrator must act fairly, reasonably and according to the law. That is the essence and the rest is mainly machinery."[2]


Delegated legislation

Freedom of Information

Administrative justice


The tribunal system of the United Kingdom is part the national system of administrative justice with tribunals classed as non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs)

Public Inquiries


In the United Kingdom a post of Ombudsman is attached to the Westminster Parliament with additional posts at the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and other government institutions. The Ombudsman's role is to investigate complaints of maladministration.

Judicial review

Judicial review is a procedure in administrative law by which English courts supervise the exercise of public power. A person who feels that an exercise of such power by a government authority, such as a minister, the local council or a statutory tribunal, is unlawful, perhaps because it has violated his or her rights, may apply to the Administrative Court (a division of the High Court) for judicial review of the decision to have it set aside (quashed) and possibly obtain damages. A court may also make mandatory orders or injunctions to compel the authority to do its duty or to stop it from acting illegally. Unlike the United States and some other jurisdictions, English law does not permit judicial review of primary legislation (laws passed by Parliament), save in a few cases where primary legislation is contrary to EU law or the European Convention of Human Rights. A person wronged by an Act of Parliament therefore cannot apply for judicial review unless this is the case.


See also


  1. KD Ewing and AW Bradley, Constitutional and Administrative Law (2011) ch 27, 605
  2. Sir Robin Cooke, quoted in R(Baker) v Devon CC [1995] 1 All ER 73, 88


  • KD Ewing and AW Bradley, Constitutional and Administrative Law (2011) chs 27 to 32
  • FW Maitland, Constitutional History, 501
  • AV Dicey, The Law of the Constitution, app 2
  • Lord Chief Justice Hewart, The New Despotism (1929)