Studies how the law makes public decision-makers accountable for how they exercise their discretions, powers, and duties. Various control mechanisms - particularly courts, merits appeals tribunals, Ombudsman, Freedom of Information (FoI) and privacy legislation at Commonwealth level - aim at curbing bureaucratic mistakes and excesses, and at ensuring sound, rational, and consistent decision-making by governments.
Topic 1: Introduction: The framework of Australian administrative law
- The prerogative writs
- The New Administrative Law reforms
- Discretions vs rules
- Judicial review by courts vs merits appeals to tribunals
Topic 2: Judicial review - the basic concepts and the Constitutional separation of powers
- Merits vs legality/procedure
- Questions of fact vs questions of law
- When errors of law 'go to jurisdiction'
- The constitutional separation of powers
- The constitutional/prerogative writs
- What decisions are reviewable under the ADJR Act 1977?
- Public versus private decision-makers
Topic 3: Judicial review and procedural fairness (natural justice)
- When is procedural fairness required?
- The hearing rule
- The rule against bias
- Legitimate expectations
- Private (domestic) associations
Topic 4: Judicial review and statutory authorisation: purposes and considerations
- Statutory interpretation and “state of mind” clauses
- Jurisdictional facts
- Unauthorised purposes/motives
- (Ir)relevant considerations
- Bad faith
Topic 5: Judicial review and the ban on fettering discretion
- Ministerial/Cabinet policies
- Following a policy inflexibly
- Acting under dictation
- Estoppel by previous promises
Topic 6: Judicial review for unreasonableness and lack of evidence
- No evidence
Topic 7: Subordinate (delegated) legislation
- Role of subordinate (delegated) legislation
- Legal restrictions
Topic 8: Invalidation and Other Judicial Remedies
- Consequences of unlawfulness: void vs voidable
- When are statutory requirements invalidatory (mandatory)?
- Discretion to withhold or postpone remedies
- Failure to carry out a statutory duty
- Ouster (privative) clauses
Topic 9: Merits appeals tribunals
- The Administrative Appeals Tribunal and other tribunals
- Powers and functions
- Interaction with judicial review
- Approach to Ministerial/Cabinet policies
Topic 10: Standing tests for judicial review and merits appeals
- Rationales for standing (locus standi) as a threshold
- Common law tests for judicial review
- Statutory tests for judicial review
- Statutory tests for merits appeals
- Proposals for open standing
Topic 11: Control of information
- Right to reasons
- Freedom of information
- Privacy laws
Topic 12: The Ombudsman: exam revision
- Legal powers of Ombudsman
- Exam preparation
Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.
|On completion of this unit, students should be able to:|
|1||identify and explain the central principles and the various elements which inform Australia’s federal system of administrative law|
|2||evaluate the differences between review of the lawfulness of a decision, and review of the merits of a decision|
|3||demonstrate an understanding of the legal and administrative mechanisms by which the actions and decisions of government officials and agencies may be challenged|
|4||identify and explain the legal and administrative mechanisms by which government officials and agencies may be rendered accountable for their actions|
On completion of this unit, students should be able to:
- identify and explain the central principles and the various elements which inform Australia’s federal system of administrative law
- evaluate the differences between review of the lawfulness of a decision, and review of the merits of a decision
- demonstrate an understanding of the legal and administrative mechanisms by which the actions and decisions of government officials and agencies may be challenged
- identify and explain the legal and administrative mechanisms by which government officials and agencies may be rendered accountable for their actions
Prescribed Learning Resources
- Prescribed text information is not currently available.
- Prescribed resources/equipment information is not currently available.
Teaching and assessment
Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.