United Kingdom administrative law

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][2] 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."[3]


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

Further information: Judicial review in English law

Judicial review is a procedure in English law whereby courts supervise the exercise of power, often of a public body. A person who feels that an exercise power is unlawful may apply to the Administrative Court (a division of the High Court) for judicial review of a decision. If the court finds the decision unlawful it may have it set aside (quashed) and possibly award damages. A court may impose an [ [injunction]] upon the public body.

When creating a public body, legislation will often define duties, limits of power, and prescribe the reasoning a body must use to make decisions. These provisions provide a means for a decision to be found unlawful. Alternatively, the UK Government has accepted the European Convention of Human Rights and stated that all law must be consistent with it.

Unlike the United States and some other jurisdictions, English law does not permit judicial review of primary legislation (laws passed by Parliament), except 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, but may still argue that a body did not follow the Government's act.


See also


  1. KD Ewing and AW Bradley, Constitutional and Administrative Law (2011) ch 27, 605
  2. The Honourable Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey (17 October 2010). "Administrative Law and Administrative Courts in the United Kingdom: An Overview" (PDF). Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  3. Sir Robin Cooke, quoted in R(Baker) v Devon CC [1995] 1 All ER 73, 88


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