Report No. 162
3.4. Report of the Committee of Justice.-
All Souls Review of Administrative Law in the United Kingdom has adopted the six themes as under mentioned while preparing its report (paras. 1.11 to 1.17 thereof). These are:
a. The need to prevent grievance;
b. The need to openness in decision making;
c. The ease of access to remedies;
d. The adequacy of remedies;
e. The need to keep the law up-to-date; and
f. The need for public information.
a. The need to prevent grievance:
The Report emphasis that it is of paramount importance to minimise the number of occasions when there is any grievance to redress. In the planning field it recommended that effective appeal procedures are essential as the appellants and objectors must feel that their case has been fairly considered.
b. The need for openness in decision making:
Decisions should be clear and intelligible. Administrators should be required on demand to give reasons for their decisions and to state the facts on which such decisions are based. The Report points out that a rule to this effect will serve the purpose under (a) above, i.e. the prevention of grievance. This is because the discipline of having to give a properly articulated decision curbs the chance of an arbitrary or irrational or prejudiced decision.
c. Remedies should be freely available:
The Report emphasises the need to do away with the artificial powers which make it difficult for a person to avail himself of a needed remedy. Based on this underlying principle the Report was against the principles of order 53, i.e. leave of the court must be obtained by the applicant for judicial review. Similarly it was against the rule which requires that the fiat of the Attorney General must be obtained before an action to declare or enforce a public right can be brought.
d. Adequacy of Remedy:
The Report observes that it is not much to the point to have a streamlined procedure for getting to court if the remedies which the Judge can award are inadequate. In this regard the Report points out that in the Ombudsman field, it is essential that the remedies recommended by the local Ombudsman should be complied with.
e. The need to keep the law up-to-date:
It is pointed out in the Report that there is a danger that rigidity and ossification will take over. It recommends that a careful watch need to be kept over all the institutions to ensure that they fulfil their task promptly and efficiently. It advocates that there is need of a standing body, independent of Government, which can comment on pending legislation, itself propose reforms and draws attention to deficiency in judicial review, in the substantive law and in the Ombudsman's jurisdiction.
It proposed that such a body could be created by statute or be set up as a standing Royal Commission and the Council on Tribunals would remain in being and work alongside the new Commission. The proposed body suggested in the Report is "Administrative Review Commission". (Page 75 of the said report).
f. The need for public information and access:
The Report advocates that public should be informed adequately of the avenues of redress. The grounds on which judicial review can be sought should be codified in statute (though in a form which leaves room for the growth of the law to continue).