Skip to main content

Quasi Judicial Decisions, Democratic Accountability and Fettered Discretion

Another interesting question is that of the inter-relationship between democratic accountability and the rule of law.

For some time there has been a campaign to refer the matter of BSkyB to the competition authorities.

Many politicians have taken a view on this. This means that they have pre-judged the decision. Given the debate about the question as to what extent politicians are bound by their statements before elections it raises a question as to whether they are then legally prevented from taking decisions about issues that they have a stated position on prior to an election.

This has happened a lot with the planning committee. Planning decisions are of considerable importance to people. Sometimes people get elected to the planning committee having campaigned on an issue. Then they are prevented from voting the way they have campaigned because they are deemed to have fettered their discretion.

The government have recognised that this is wrong and are changing the law so that planning can be more democratically accountable.

This raises the same question as the BSkyB question. People and organisations should be subject to the rule of law where who someone is should not affect how they are treated.

Rupert Murdoch's particular difficulty also arises from the fact that he participates substantially in party politics.

So we now have two contradictory requirements. One for the rule of law and the other for democratic accountability. The question is one as to what extent judicial review could quash a decision taken by a politician who has a stated view on the issue.

My feeling is that for such quasi-judicial decisions that the issue of a fettered discretion should not be a ground for certiori and that only the Wednesbury reasonableness test should apply as well as the usual vires questions.


Popular posts from this blog

Statement re false allegations from Esther Baker

Statement by John Hemming
I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever.
I would like to thank Emily Cox, my children, Ayaz Iqbal (my Solicitor), my local lib dem team and many others who supported me through this dreadful experience. There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.
It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped.
I am normally someone who helps other people fight injustice. …

Homelessness vs Selling Books

Candidates in elections tend to find themselves very busy with lots of things to do.  It is, therefore, necessary to prioritise things to ensure that the important things are dealt with.

To me the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping is an important issue.  Therefore, when Birmingham's Faith Leaders group contacted me to ask me what I would propose and whether I would work with them to make things better I was pleased to respond with my views and indicate that I would work with them after the election.

The Faith Leaders Group (Bishops and other religious leaders in Birmingham) have now sent out their report.

Sadly, according to their report,  I was the only candidate for Yardley to respond.  The group in their report said:

"Particularly disappointing was the lack of response from some of those candidates seeking re-election as MP for their respective constituencies."
It is worth looking at the priorities of my opponent.
Interestingly today she has decided to be at th…

Millionaires and politics

The Labour Party spent most of the last election criticising me for being a successful businessman (aka millionaire). That is business in the private sector employing over 250 people. It is worth looking at the situation for the Labour Candidate now:

For the year 2016-7 Annual Income from Parliament74,962Specifically for her book51,250Other media income etc5,322.82Total declared income131,534.82

Traditionally anyone with an annual income of over £100,000 has been considered to be a millionaire. I did not use my position in parliament to increase my income.

I have been asked for sources for this. This BBC piece looks at how one should define rich. It was written in 2011 so the figures will be slightly out of date. There are perhaps 2 relevant pieces:
"In 1880 a rich person would have had £100,000 in assets or an income of £10,000 a year, he says. About a hundred people a year died leaving £100,000 and by 1910 this was 250 - "a microscopic fraction of the number of death…