Administrative Law Matters
Commentary on developments in administrative law, particularly judicial review of administrative action by common law courts.
Of Tongues and Teeth: Sliding Scales in Judicial Review
The UK Supreme Court’s decision of last week in Humphreys v Revenue Commissioners puts me to thinking about sliding scales. These are quite common in public law. At base, the idea is that greater scrutiny will be paid to decisions (or statutory provisions) in some circumstances, and less in others. Old world administrative lawyers will […] Read more
Interesting paper here from Arden Rowell (University of Illinois). One of the difficulties with regulators performing cost-benefit analyses lies in determining what should go into the analysis. Some things we can count quite easily: to use Rowell’s example, the cost of installing rear-view cameras on cars; and the benefits in terms of lives saved (although […] Read more
Henry VIII vit encore!
Much hubbub this morning at the Assemblé Nationale as the deputies debate legislation designed to end the student boycott – excellent coverage of the marathon législatif from Radio-Canada here. Some of the hubbub relates to a “Henry VIII” clause, contained in Article 9 of the draft legislation. This allows the Minister for Education to take […] Read more
C’est qui le maître chez l’arbitre?
A challenge, perhaps, from the Québec Superior Court to the established rule that tribunals are masters of their own procedures, as long as they do notviolate the rules of natural justice. A challenge, certainly, to anyone who thinks the distinction in administrative law between matters of procedure (for reviewing courts) and matters of substance (for […] Read more
Why Study Law?
McGill’s Professor Rod Macdonald is one of Canada’s leading administrative law scholars and also a big thinker about the role and place of legal education. He gave a speech at the London School of Economics a few months ago, which he has now posted on SSRN. A taste: Here is my first claim. Studying law […] Read more
80% of life is just showing up
Fascinating decision here from the District Court for the District of Columbia. America’s National Labor Relations Board has been at the centre of controversy recently because of President Obama’s inability to appoint new members. Before he made recess appointments to restore the full complement of members, the Board took an important decision which would have […] Read more
Avoiding ‘Charter-Free’ Zones
One of the questions not broached by the Supreme Court of Canada in Doré (see my earlier post here) was what happens when the legislature has attempted to exclude consideration of the Charter by an administrative decision-maker. In a pair of decisions released in 2003, the Court made clear that where an administrative decision-maker has […] Read more
Unanswered Questions post-Dunsmuir
In a recent decision, Justice Stratas of the Federal Court of Appeal raised a host of questions about the applicability of the Supreme Court of Canada’s re-shaping of judicial review doctrine to decisions taken by discretionary decision-makers:  I am inclined to find that the Director is subject to this “normal” or […] Read more
One of the reasons offered by the concurring judges in Multani for merging administrative review and constitutional review (at least when an individualized decision was challenged) was that keeping them separate and distinct would be confusing to lower courts and litigants. That view never seemed particularly compelling to me: lawyers and judges often make and […] Read more
The Charter and Administrative Adjudication
The Supreme Court of Canada has been feverishly productive in the field of administrative law since the Fall of 2011, rendering decisions on standard of review (questions of law, jurisdictional error and labour arbitrators), the right to reasons, issue estoppel, attempts to pre-empt the administrative decision-making process, and review of municipal by-laws. Plenty of grist […] Read more