The Duty to Give Reasons: The Openness of Decision-Making

Sir Patrick Neill

in The Golden Metwand and the Crooked Cord

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780198264699
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682766 | DOI:
The Duty to Give Reasons: The Openness of Decision-Making

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This chapter argues that, as a matter of principle, it is desirable that courts should approach the question of reasons from the standpoint that the interests of fairness will very generally be found to require that a person affected by a decision should both be aware of the material in the hands of the decision-maker which may be used as a basis for the decision and, secondly, that he should know the reasons underlying the ultimate decision in order that he may decide whether the possibility of legal challenge is available — whether by appeal or by judicial review — or alternatively that he may know what steps he has to take to improve his ability to obtain a subsequent more favourable decision (assuming such a procedure to be available). It is submitted that, what may perhaps be called, the open-textured nature of the four cases discussed — ex p. Cunningham, ex p. Doody, ex p. Matson, and ex p. Payed — point the way ahead. The requirements of fairness need to be considered in every novel case with a pre-disposition to finding that fairness requires the supply of information and the giving of reasons.

Keywords: administrative law; reasons; fairness; decision-maker; appeal; judicial review

Chapter.  11524 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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