‘What is administrative justice?’ is one of the pages on our website most viewed by visitors. Does this mean it’s an unfamiliar term, or is it simply difficult to define?
We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the answer to the question ‘What is administrative justice?’ and, more importantly, the question of why it matters. In light of current developments – not least the impact of Brexit on government departments and Parliament, an ambitious programme of reform and digitisation of courts and tribunals, and a long-awaited convergence of public-sector ombuds – there is a pressing need to consolidate what we know, and don’t know, about this crucial area of ‘everyday justice’.
Administrative justice deals with far more ‘cases’ of alleged injustice and directly affects a much larger section of the population in their day-to-day lives than do the civil, family or criminal justice systems. Everyone interacts regularly with, or is affected by, administrative systems and administrative decision-making, and many do, or could, go on to challenge decisions and seek redress.
For users, reformers, researchers and those working within it, this area of the justice system presents particular challenges. The ‘system’ is made up of different systems – the public bodies making initial decisions (and rules and guidance governing those decisions); the tribunals, complaints, ombuds and other mechanisms that operate at local and national level; and the different approaches taken by government in devolved jurisdictions. Administrative justice is susceptible to fragmentation and silo isolation, making it difficult to share lessons.
UKAJI’s website is a resource for those wanting to understand what administrative justice is all about, and it fills this role in a number of different ways:
Mapping administrative justice
First stop might be What is administrative justice? On this page you’ll find links to the reports of research projects mapping administrative justice in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You’ll also find a discussion paper exploring the boundaries of administrative justice.
What do we know and what do we need to know?
We have produced a number of overviews of research (and research gaps) in specific areas of administrative justice, including:
- Seminar, papers and bibliography of research on Benefit sanctions and inequalities
- Rapid response review on what do we know about indefinite immigration detention
- Workshop, papers and presentations on researching users’ perspectives
Live research projects
Want to know what research is being done in administrative justice? In the Resources and E-Library section, we have our database of Live Research Projects and project profiles, which is updated twice a year. You can search the Live Projects database by researcher name, keyword, funder and more.
Summaries of research
We also have summaries of research that has been carried out on aspects of administrative justice, including tribunals and courts, ombuds and mediation. The summaries include many that were produced by Advice Services Alliance as part of its ADRnow website, and they are published here with permission of Advice Services Alliance and the UCL Centre for Access to Justice.
On the Useful Links page you’ll find information on related blogs, links for the former oversight bodies the Administrative Justice Forum (AJF) and Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council (AJTC), and descriptions of related research projects and links to those project websites.
The blog is on our Home page and includes commentaries and reports of research, research events, and summaries of recent research. It also includes our monthly What’s New update on developments in administrative justice.
You can find blog posts in a number of ways:
- Use the Search box at the top of every page to enter your own search term. Entering a term here and clicking will take you to all the posts in which that term appears. You can search, for example, for all the mentions of ‘legal aid’ or ‘judicial review’ using this box.
- Use the month-by-month Archive of Blog Posts: A pull-down menu on the Home page lists posts by the date on which they were published. By clicking on a month, you will get to all the posts published that month.
- The Recent Posts list: This lists the most recent blog posts by title, and you can click the one you want to get to the actual post.
Categories: The subjects covered by the blog posts are listed to the right. You can click on any of the categories to get to all the posts on that particular subject.
UKAJI welcomes contributions from academic researchers, practitioners, policy makers and others interested in this field. The style of the blog is to be accessible to range of audiences, so we encourage contributions that are clear and engaging. More details about contributing to the blog can be found here.