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Reason-giving in English and European Community Administrative Law

Reason-giving in English and European Community Administrative Law Robert Thomas* In a previous issue of this journal Professor Graham identified the lack of a general obligation on public administrators to give reasons for their decisions as the great lacuna in English public law.' The purpose of this piece is, first, to compare the recent approach of the English courts with that of the European Court of Justice and, second: to bring to light a possible means of filling this lacuna. Before proceeding any further it would be appropriate to ask why it is that reasons for administrative decisions should be given. It appears that there are sound arguments in favour of reason-giving by administrators. The obligation to provide reasons may concentrate the administrator's mind on the right questions; demonstrate to the recipient that this is so; show that the issues have been conscientiously addressed and how the result has been r e a ~ h e d For example, in .~ relation to the fixing of tariffs for mandatory life prisoners it has been recognized that the prisoner is very much an outsider in this process and that reasons could make it more t r a n ~ ~ a r e n t . ~ http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Public Law Kluwer Law International

Reason-giving in English and European Community Administrative Law

European Public Law , Volume 3 (2) – Jun 1, 1997

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Publisher
Kluwer Law International
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Copyright © Kluwer Law International
ISSN
1354-3725
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Abstract

Robert Thomas* In a previous issue of this journal Professor Graham identified the lack of a general obligation on public administrators to give reasons for their decisions as the great lacuna in English public law.' The purpose of this piece is, first, to compare the recent approach of the English courts with that of the European Court of Justice and, second: to bring to light a possible means of filling this lacuna. Before proceeding any further it would be appropriate to ask why it is that reasons for administrative decisions should be given. It appears that there are sound arguments in favour of reason-giving by administrators. The obligation to provide reasons may concentrate the administrator's mind on the right questions; demonstrate to the recipient that this is so; show that the issues have been conscientiously addressed and how the result has been r e a ~ h e d For example, in .~ relation to the fixing of tariffs for mandatory life prisoners it has been recognized that the prisoner is very much an outsider in this process and that reasons could make it more t r a n ~ ~ a r e n t . ~

Journal

European Public LawKluwer Law International

Published: Jun 1, 1997

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