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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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Substantive Protection of Legitimate Expectations (I): Revocation of Decisions

Substantive Protection of Legitimate Expectations (I): Revocation of Decisions

(p.64) Chapter 3 Substantive Protection of Legitimate Expectations (I): Revocation of Decisions
Legitimate Expectations in Administrative Law

Søren J. Schønberg

Oxford University Press

Revocation of decisions may cause legal uncertainty disappointment of reasonable expectations as well as financial loss. For this reason, it is accepted in English, French, and European Community (EC) law that restrictions must be imposed upon the power public authorities may have to revoke their own decisions. In English law, three principles are cited in cases concerned with administrative revocation: finality of administrative determinations, estoppel by record, and functus officio. These principles are termed ‘the principle of irrevocability’. In French and EC law, the legal terminology is somewhat more consistent. The French courts resolve revocation problems by reference to a broadly defined principle of irrevocability of decisions which ‘create rights’. On the face of it, English, EC, and French law differ quite markedly in legal terminology, conceptualization, and the actual content of the relevant principles. Important differences exist especially in relation to revocation of unlawful decisions. This chapter discusses the substantive protection of legitimate expectations when administrative decisions are revoked.

Keywords:   English law, French law, European Community law, administrative decisions, administrative revocation, estoppel by record, functus officio, principle of irrevocability, substantive protection, legal terminology, conceptualization

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