By Robert Thomas and Joe Tomlinson
We have published a new paper in the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law entitled “Mapping current issues in administrative justice: austerity and the ‘more bureaucratic rationality’ approach”. The paper draws upon our ESRC-funded policy seminar on administrative justice decisions, reviews, and appeals. The abstract of the paper is as follows:
This article critically reviews recent developments in the administrative justice system; in particular, it considers three key themes: improving initial decisions; administrative review; and the future of tribunals.
In each of these areas, some aspects of administrative justice work well, but austerity has presented acute challenges in ensuring the fair and just treatment of people through restrictions upon legal aid; the withdrawal of some appeal rights; and the expansion of administrative review. Consequently, the system is moving away from a ‘legal’ model of administrative justice to the ‘bureaucratic rationality’ model, which focuses upon accurate and efficient implementation. However, the reality does not correspond with the goals of the model. Rather than accurate and efficient implementation of policy, what we find is poor decision-making made by junior officials with insufficient quality controls. Digitising tribunals may have potential benefits in terms of increased accessibility.
There is a limited number of free eprints of the article, which can be accessed here.
About the authors:
Professor Robert Thomas is Professor of Public Law at the University of Manchester. Dr Joe Tomlinson is a Lecturer in Public Law at the University of Sheffield.