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Administrative Deference

(Chevron Deference)

A principle of administrative law requiring courts to defer to interpretations of statutes made by those government agencies charged with enforcing them, unless such interpretations are unreasonable. 

Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. 467 U.S. 837 (1984) (W|L)

Administrative Discretion

refers to the flexible exercising of judgment and decision making allowed to public administrators

Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254,90 S. Ct. 1011, 25 L. Ed. 2d 287, 1970 U.S. LEXIS 80(1970)


A relation, created either by express or implied contract or by law, whereby one party (called the principal or constituent) delegates the transaction of some lawful business or the authority to do certain acts for him or in relation to his rights or property, with more or less discretionary power, to another person (called the agent, attorney, proxy, or delegate) who undertakes to manage the affair and render him an account thereof. (Black)

Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. 467 U.S. 837 (1984) (W|L)

Audi Alteram Partem

“Hear the other side” (OR) “here both sides before a decision is arrived at”

Cooper v. Wandsworth Board of Works, (1861-73) ALL ER 1554

Delegated Legislation

“that which proceeds from any authority other than a sovereign power and is therefore dependent for its continued existence and validity on some superior or supreme authority” (Salmond, Jurisprudence)

Queen v. Burah, 1878 3 AC 889

In Re Delhi Laws Act Case

1951 AIR 332, 1951 SCR 747

Doctrine of Necessity

Used to describe the basis on which administrative actions by the administrative authority, which are designed to restore order, are found to be constitutional

‘that which is otherwise not lawful is made lawful by necessity’

Federation of Pakistan v Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan 1954 SHC 81

Doctrine of Proportionality

Relates to the interpretation of statutory provisions maintaining fairness and justice; application of a given instrument to achieve a given object should not be unreasonable in its reciprocal relations. 

R v. Goldsmith (1983) 1 WLR 151

Droit Administratif

(French) a body of rules framed to determine the organization, powers, and duties of public administration (administrative agencies and officials) and regulate the relation of the administration with the citizens of the country


a legal doctrine that prevents a person from adopting a position, action, or attitude, asserting a fact or a right, or prevents one from denying a fact inconsistent with an earlier position if it would result in an injury to someone else.

Combe v Combe [1951] 2 KB 215

Exhaustion of remedies

The doctrine of exhaustion of remedies prevents a litigant from seeking a remedy in a new court or jurisdiction until all claims or remedies have been exhausted (pursued as fully as possible) in the original one. The doctrine was originally created by case law based on the principles of comity.

Prentis v. Atlantic Coast Line Railway 211 U. S. 210 (1908)

Hearing on record 

hearing on the record is a process for the orderly presentation of evidence and arguments by the parties

United States v. Florida East Coast Railway Co.  410 U.S. 224 (1973)

Judicial Control: Doctrine of Ultra Vires

An authority can exercise only so much power as is conferred on it by law; a basic test is to determine and consider the source of power which is relatable to the rule. 

Ashbury Railway Carriage and Iron Co. Ltd. v. Riche, (1878) L.R. 7 H.L. 653

Judicial Review 

A court’s authority to examine an executive or legislative act and to invalidate that act if it is contrary to constitutional principles.

Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137 (1803)


The doctrine of primary jurisdiction precludes the courts from resolving a controversy over which !jurisdiction was initially lodged with an administrative body of special competence. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not allow a court to arrogate unto itself authority to resolve a controversy, the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with an administrative body of special competence. 

Bagonghasa vs. DAR

United States v. Aluminium Co. of America, 148 F. 2d 416, 443 (2d Cir., 1945)


refers to a lack of diligence and activity in making a legal claim, or moving forward with legal enforcement of a right, particularly in regards to equity; it is an unreasonable delay that can be viewed as prejudicing the opposing [defending] party

Costello v. United States 365 US 265, 282 (1961)

Limitation on right to be heard

When a relatively small number of people are impacted, it is perhaps practically necessary for hearings to occur where direct voices can be heard. But where everyone is affected, it is impracticable.

Bi-Metallic Investment Company v. State Board of Equalization

239 U.S. 441, 36 S. CT. 141, 60 L.ED. 372 (1915)

Locus Standi

Authority of a person who approached the court should show himself that he suffered a legal injury; right of a party to appear and to be heard before a court, or the right to bring an action before the court

R v Paddington Valuation Officer, Ex parte Peachey Property Corporation Ltd. (1966) 1 QB 380

Mala Fides of the Rule Maker

Where actual purpose is different from that which is authorized by law and the discretionary power is used ostensibly for the authorized but in reality for the unauthorized purpose. 

A rule may be challenged on the ground of mala fides of the rule-making authority; all powers should be exercised in good faith. 

Westminster Corporation Vs London & West Northern 1 Railway Company (1905) A.C. 426

Ministerial act

A ministerial act is a government action “performed according to legal authority, established procedures or instructions from a superior, without exercising any individual judgment.”


Natural Justice

Implies fairness, reasonableness, and equality; Procedural process which every administrative agency must follow, in taking any decision, adversely affecting the rights of a private individual

Nemo Judex In Causa Sua

(OR) Nemo Debet Esse Judex In Propria Causa

(OR) Nemo Judex In Parte Sua

“No one should be made judge in his own case”

Frome United Breweries Co. v Bath, [1926] AC 586

Nondelegation Doctrine

The principle in administrative law that Congress cannot delegate its legislative powers to agencies.  Rather, when it instructs agencies to regulate, it must give them an “intelligible principle” on which to base their regulations.

J.W. Hampton, Jr., & Co v United States, 276 US 394, 409 (1928)

Ouster clause

a clause or provision included in a piece of legislation by a legislative body to exclude judicial review of acts and decisions of the executive by stripping the courts of their supervisory judicial function

Anisminic Ltd V Foreign Compensation Commission


(Canadian Administrative Law) A polycentric issue is one which involves a large number of interlocking and interacting interests and consideration

Pushpanathan v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1998] 1 SCR 982 

Principle of Legitimate Expectation

expectation of benefits, relief/remedy that accrues from a promise or established practices, and give rise to locus standi to a person to seek judicial review of any action, of State or its subsidiaries, which are arbitrary, discriminatory, unfair, malicious in law, devoid of Rule of law and violative of the principles of Natural Justice

Sehmidt v. Secretary of Home Affairs [1969] 2 Ch 149; (1969) 1.All E.R. 904.

Procedural Due Process 

Procedural due process refers to the aspects of the due process clause that relates to the procedure of arresting and trying persons who have been accused of crimes. It also applies to any other government action that deprives an individual of life, liberty, or property. According to the principle of procedural due process, if a person is deprived of life, liberty or property, s/he is entitled to adequate notice, hearing, counsel, and a neutral judge. This principle follows the concept of fundamental fairness.

Londoner v. City and County of Denver 210 U.S. 373 (1908)[


The principle of proportionality envisages that a public authority ought to maintain a sense of proportion between his particular goals and the means he employs to achieve those goals so that his action impinges on the individual rights to the minimum extent to preserve the public interest. This means that administrative action ought to bear a reasonable relationship to the general purpose for which the power has been conferred.

Enmund v. Florida  458 U.S. 782 (1982)

Solem v. Helm 463 U.S. 277 (1983)

Tison v. Arizona 481 U.S. 137 (1987)

Public Accountability

Refers to the process of holding persons or organizations responsible for performance as objectively as possible; transparency and being answerable to the public at large; includes openness in accounts of the administration and also public sector undertaking

  • Right to information is a tool for public accountability

A.G. Hong Kong v. Reid UKPC 36, 1 AC 324 (1993)

Qui Facit Per Alium Per Se

“He who acts through another does the act himself”

Stroman Motor Co. v Brown, 1925 116 Okla 36, 243

Res Judicata

“A matter (already) judged”

A cause of action will not be litigated again once it has already been judged on its merits

Jeter v. Hewitt, 63 U.S. 22 How. 352 352 (1859)

Respondeat Superior

“Let the master answer”

A party is (vicariously) liable for the acts of the agent

Hern v. Nichols 90 Eng. Rep. 1154 (1709)

Rule of Law

the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to the law that is fairly applied and enforced; the principle of government by law.

Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, Dicey, A.V., 1885

Separation of Power

(des pouvoirs)

The doctrine of separation of powers envisages a tripartite system. Powers are delegated by the Constitution to the three organs and delineating the jurisdiction of each.

Immigration & Naturalization Serv. v. Chadha 462 U.S. 919 (1983) (LEXIS)

De l’esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws), Montesquieu

Substantial evidence 

Substantial Evidence refers to evidence that a reasonable mind could accept as adequate to support a conclusion.

Substantial evidence is defined as “more than a scintilla but less than a preponderance,” and consists of “such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” 

Richardson v. Perales  402 U.S. 389 (1971)

Ubi Remedium Ibi Jus

“where there is a right there is a remedy”

Fundamental right to remedy under law

Ashby v. White (1703) 92 ER 126


voluntary relinquishment or surrender of some known right or privilege

Behram v State of Bombay AIR 1955 SC 123, (1955) 57 BOM LR 575, 1955 CriLJ 215, 1955 1 SCR 613

Basheshar Nath v. C.I.T commissioner 1959 AIR 149, 1959 SCR Supl. (1) 528

Wednesbury unreasonableness

A standard of unreasonableness used in assessing an application for judicial review of a public authority’s decision. Reasoning or decision is Wednesbury unreasonable (or irrational) if it is so unreasonable that no reasonable person acting reasonably could have made it. 

Associated Provincial Picture Houses v. Wednesbury Corporation[1948] 1 KB 223


A formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction

  • Habeas Corpus
  • Mandamus
  • Quo warranto
  • Certiorari
  • prohibition

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