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Legitimate Expectations in Administrative Law$
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Soren Schønberg

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299479

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299479.001.0001

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Expectations, Fairness, and Lawful Administration in the Public Interest

Expectations, Fairness, and Lawful Administration in the Public Interest

(p.7) Chapter 1 Expectations, Fairness, and Lawful Administration in the Public Interest
Legitimate Expectations in Administrative Law

Søren J. Schønberg

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains why administrative law should protect expectations created by administrative decisions, administrative representations, and administrative conduct. It also examines, in the light of a comparative study of English, French, and European Community law, how and in what circumstances expectations should be upheld. All developed systems of administrative law include principles of auto-limitation (non-fettering) and legality. The former limits the extent to which a public authority may, by making prima facie lawful decisions and informal representations, or by the adoption of a fixed practice or policy, disable itself from exercising discretionary powers in individual cases. The latter provides that authorities are not bound by unlawful decisions, representations, and policies. There is growing recognition in Britain that legality and administration in the public interest must be limited by, or balanced against, requirements of morality or fairness, and that it is incumbent on the courts to enforce such limits through principles of judicial review. Public authorities must ‘act in a high-principled way, on occasion being subject to a stricter duty of fairness than would apply between private individuals’.

Keywords:   Britain, administrative law, expectations, administrative decisions, administrative representations, legality, discretionary powers, fairness, public interest, judicial review

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