What is administrative justice?

questionmarkAdministrative justice concerns how we interact as individuals when the government, or those working on its behalf, act in ways that appear wrong, unfair or unjust. It encompasses matters of everyday importance to all of us, such as housing, education, health care, immigration, planning, social security and taxation.

Various projects have been carried out to map administrative justice in the UK:

Mapping the administrative justice landscape in Northern Ireland (Oct 2014)

Mapping administrative justice in Scotland (Nov 2015)

Understanding Administrative Justice in Wales (Nov 2015)

UKAJI has also produced a discussion paper on defining and describing administrative justice and identifying the scope of the UKAJI’s interests. We invite comments and suggestions on the ideas we present in the paper.

At its core administrative justice is about ensuring that public bodies and those who exercise public functions make the right decisions. How do these decisions affect people (as citizens, consumers, individual or groups) and what are the mechanisms for providing redress when things go wrong? Our concerns include ensuring that decisions and redress mechanisms comply with the rule of law.

UKAJI defines administrative justice in the way set out by the Nuffield Foundation:

“The Foundation’s work will start on the basis of a distinction between ‘justice in administration’, where ‘justice’ may be in competition with other administrative criteria, and ‘administrative justice’, which we take to cover reactions to alleged deficiencies in first instance decision-making. ’Administrative justice’ has at its core the administrative decisions by public authorities that affect individual citizens and the mechanisms available for the provision of redress.”

UKAJI’s primary focus is upon developing and using research to understand how the systems of administrative justice operate, including such matters as how users experience the systems and the implications of reforms. One of our key goals is to seek to ensure that research can be used to enable the systems to work as they should and that change is informed by robust, independent research evidence.

We’re interested in how public services are designed and delivered, how legislation is drafted, how people are consulted about laws and policy, how people can challenge decisions by public bodies, how redress bodies consider those challenges and how learning from such challenges is used to improve delivery and decision-making in the first place.

Among the issues relevant to administrative justice are:

Tell us what administrative justice means to you here.





  1. Pingback: Welcome to 2018 from UKAJI! | UKAJI - January 22, 2018

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