‘What is administrative justice?’ is one of the pages on our website most viewed by visitors. At UKAJI, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the answer to this question – and, more importantly, why it matters. We’ve developed a range of resources to help illuminate what we know and understand about administrative justice and to help researchers and policymakers see its relevance.
Administrative justice is in many ways the most ‘everyday’ justice. It is in the news every day, and it 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. It involves issues of life and liberty such as immigration and asylum; human rights and rights to information; housing, health care, education and social security; and more routine issues such as parking. 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 citizens and government, for policy makers, researchers, the judiciary and those working within it, administrative justice 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 practitioners providing legal advice; the tribunals, complaints, ombuds and other mechanisms that operate at local and national level; the courts and the use of judicial review; and the different approaches taken by governments across the UK, in Westminster and in the devolved jurisdictions. Administrative justice is susceptible to fragmentation and silo isolation, making it difficult to share lessons.
And administrative justice crosses the boundaries that usually separate parts of the justice system. It involves decisions taken within criminal justice (such as the judicial review of the Parole Board decision on the Worboys case); within family justice (transparency in the Court of Protection, for example) and within civil justice (such as the regulation of consumer redress). It involves decisions that affect access to all forms of justice (legal aid, discrimination, Public Legal Education, for example).
For these reasons it is worth considering administrative justice not as one of several strands within the justice system but instead as an overarching set of principles and values governing individuals’ interactions with the state, wherever that occurs.
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:
A roadmap of administrative justice past research and future priorities
During 2017 UKAJI consulted widely on a proposed research agenda for administrative justice. UKAJI’s full Research Roadmap was published in February 2018 and is available below and can be downloaded here:
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:
- What do we know from research on public sector ombuds? Research review
- What do we know about the role of young people in SEND dispute resolution? A research overview
- What do we know about immigration judicial reviews?
- What do we know about benefit sanctions and inequalities? Seminar, papers and bibliography of research
- What do we know about indefinite immigration detention? Rapid response review
- What do we know about researching users’ perspectives? Workshop, papers and presentations
Among the tools available for researchers are:
The Digitalisation of Tribunals (April 2018)
A scoping study on administrative data sources in social security (March 2018)
Live research projects
Want to know what research is being done in administrative justice? In the Resources and E-Library section, we have a database of Live Research Projects and project profiles, collected during 2015-2017. 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, the link for the current Administrative Justice Council and 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.