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Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution$
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Nicholas Bamforth and Peter Leyland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670024.001.0001

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Ombudsmen, Tribunals, Inquiries

Ombudsmen, Tribunals, Inquiries

Re-fashioning Accountability Beyond the Courts

Chapter:
(p.233) 10 Ombudsmen, Tribunals, Inquiries
Source:
Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution
Author(s):

Mark Elliott

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670024.003.0010

Courts play a prominent and significant role in holding public bodies to account in the UK, most obviously through the exercise of powers of judicial review. However, the accountability ‘system’ extends far beyond the courts, encompassing (among other institutions) tribunals, ombudsmen and inquiries into matters of public concern. This chapter argues that accountability is a protean concept, and that the accountability system must therefore exhibit appropriate diversity if accountability in all its relevant senses is to be secured. This raises questions about the balance and relationship between legal and political mechanisms for supplying accountability. It is argued that an increasing tendency to view the legal-judicial model as a paradigm places other accountability institutions at risk of inappropriate judicialization. That trend, it is contended, must not continue unchecked if the accountability system is to remain suitably diverse.

Keywords:   political accountability, legal accountability, judicial review, ombudsmen, tribunals, public inquiries, diversity

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