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Substantive legitimate expectations in Australian administrative law
journal contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Matthew GrovesMatthew Groves
Judicial review of administrative action has traditionally had a procedural focus. This means that courts examine the procedure by which a decision is made, rather than the decision itself. A denial of natural justice is no exception to review - A person dissatisfied with an administrative decision has long been able to complain about the fairness of the decision-making process but not the fairness of the decision itself. English law has recently developed a doctrine of 'substantive unfairness' by which an expectation about the outcome of a decision-making process can be protected by the courts in a strong sense. The strength of the protection given under this new doctrine seems to blur the distinction between process and outcomes, which leads judicial review in a radical new direction. This article explains the English doctrine of substantive unfairness and considers whether it can and should be adopted in Australia.