The Australian administration law has developed over the last three decades. The framework of the law is marked by the comprehensive system of the administration law. Key elements addressed in the administrative law system include the conferral of information under the freedom of privacy legislation, human rights agencies, the review of the administrative tribunals, and review of the judicial courts. Administration law looks at the implications of three main groups which are the courts, executive, and a citizen. The three groups are directly involved in each of the administrative law dispute. They can either be the defendant, adjudicator or the plaintiff. The administration law was developed to check into issues such as accountability of the government to the citizens in Australia and the limits upon which the judiciary can exercise its powers.
Under the administrative law, justiciability refers to the suitability for, or amenability to, judicial review of a particular administrative decision or class of decisions. The suitability is determined the standing threshold. The standing is high in Australia to avoid applications for petty claims for judicial reviews. The concept hypothesizes that courts can only evaluate the legality of decisions and actions, and not their significance in the justice system. The foundation of the justiciability doctrine lies in the principle of separation of powers as espoused in the Australian Constitution. The court has a plain duty under the administrative law. The court has the powers not to engage in proceedings where it lacks jurisdiction. In such scenarios, the court sends the warring parties to the other arms of the government, where their complaints can be made . In such scenarios, the standing can be made by either an individual or a public body. Justiciability concept outlines the fundamental obligation of any court to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it. Based on these arguments, I concur that the principle of justiciability puts a limitation on the judicial decisions deemed suitable for judicial review. The items that do not meet the threshold, the non- justiciability decisions, are ignored.
The of justiciability and courts decisions in administrative law
The development of the justice system, courts and the administrative laws have been influenced by the principle of justiciability. The influence reinforces the notion that justiciability principles enhance litigation. Evidently, the principle assists courts perform the judicial function effectively. It ensures that parties pursue their cases with the needed vigor in order to fulfill the judicial resolution. In essence, it is significant for parties to have a stake in the litigation that offers it the incentive to do the necessary work. The principle suggests that; if a plaintiff lacked an injury that would confer standing or if the plaintiff had standing originally, but the case became moot, and then the plaintiff would lack the incentive to do the costly work necessary to illuminate the issues for the court.
The principle of justiciability has influenced the court and the administrative law to give attention to the instrumental aspect that the requirements. As a result, the courts and the administrative law have been ensured with a vigorous litigation that can be used to serve to help them in their quest to reach sound decisions. Thus, the courts and decisions in the administrative law have emphasized that of justiciability is to restrain them. The courts have a vital aspect of the constitutional separation of powers. The principle of Justiciability has influenced courts and decision making of law by using considerations that have never been mentioned before is standing decisions. The principle of justiciability has affected courts and decisions in administrative law in a number of ways as discussed below;
Helping enforce the doctrine of separation of powers
Justiciability doctrine forms one of the areas where the Australian courts and judicial, administrative system have executed restrictions within which the scope of their authorities in response to the Constitutional restrictions to judicial reviews lie. These limitations represent valued tools in determining the best scopes and processes of judicial review. For example, the principle has helped in the process of identification of the executive and judiciary boundaries and restrictions.
The main purpose of the justiciability principle is to confine the court system to the execution of its powers with regards to the issues that are not effectively assigned to other arms of the Australian government. In situations of constitutional crises, the principle is applied. The issues, though not within the confines of separation of powers doctrine, fall within the country’s’ judicial institutional competence. This was evident in Australian Communist Party v Commonwealth and the New South Wales v Commonwealth cases. The case helped deal with the numerous traditional conceptions such as separation of powers, rule of law. In this regard, the court was of the opinion that the decision making and administrative functions lie within its premise.
Influence in historical colonial cases
The principle of justiciability has affected courts and decisions in administrative law with regards to the historical cases during the colonial times. Under the administrative system, the doctrine of justiciability has developed overtime in Australia. The historical development of the concept can be traced to the periods of the Common Law and emergence of democracy and activism over the separation of powers. During the period, the Australian court deemed reluctant to intervene in situations of the constitutional crisis. Especially, during the 17th century, the Crown had judicial review immunity while the King had untouchable prerogatives over all matters of the state.
The growth and development of the justiciability concept stemmed from the lessening of the prerogative powers while the executive powers have been correspondingly expanding. The experts realized that the Crown immunity did not play a major role in influencing the executive actions. The situation in reflected in the R vToohey. The case concluded that in exercising the statutory discretionary powers by the Queen’s (Crown’s) representative, in many instances affected the rights and freedoms of the citizens. The court observed that;
“function associated with Crown immunity has been banished from administrative law. The assumption that questions of justiciability could be answered on the basis of simple distinctions between statutory powers and prerogative powers, or between the status of the Queens’ representative and that of a minister has been exploded” .
The case pointed out that the exercise of discretion may be exactly restricted within a given scope or conferred for a definite/ ascertainable purpose. Despite the existence of subject matter, the decision is subjected to a judicial review if it is illegal or ultra vires. It is evident that the court applies the principle of justiciability to ensure effective justice administration and rule of law. For example, in the Oceanic Sun Line Special Shipping Company Inc v Fay case, it is evident that the High Court of Australia judgments contain several declarations of real suppositions critical to the principle of the rule of law. That is, the Australian courts “have a duty to exercise a jurisdiction that is regularly invoked”.
Applying principle of justiciability; factors the courts consider
In applying the principle of justiciability the court looks at several factors that affect it courts and its decisions in administrative law. The court also looks at the nature of the decisions when carrying out a judicial review. The courts consider factors such as the process followed to arrive at the decision, other than the overall subject area. For example, in some instances, the court has taken into account the issues of national security not on substantive grounds, but on the account of breaching a procedural fairness. In broad sense, in applying the justiciability principle, the courts cover issues such as accessibility of substitute and more appropriate remedies, the political expediency issues, questions relating to the distribution of scarce natural resources and rights of the future generations. In my view, these factors relate to the requirements of standing where the question of fact and law are evaluated.
In determining the justiciability of a decision and capacity to allow a standing, the court takes into account several factors. The major factors include the nature of the justiciability decision and legal and policy effects of the decisions. The existence of material interest in the area must be explained. The Australian court system recognizes two elements of justiciability. First, the court analyses whether or not the consequences of the decision affect a person or a body other than the person or entity that made the decision. The decision maker can be affected if the action alters the legal right/ obligation enforceable by or against an entity or an individual. The court also evaluates whether the decisions deprive a person, or a body of some privileges that they had before the decision was made. That is, and the person was receiving some benefits and expected to legitimately continue receive them. Second, the court analyses the existence or not of some special aspects of the decision (s). Such features are those that may make the judicial review inappropriate. Under the justiciability principle, administrative law recognizes policy, polycentrism as well as a decision of a legislative nature as some of the special features of the court decision that may affect the judicial review.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Justiciability
Advantages of Justiciability
The major advantage of the justiciability principle relates to its role in helping determine the judicial and executive authorities in a clear manner. Justiciability determines the extent to which the court can exercise its judicial authority. Judiciability began in Australia during the Michael Newdow case. The case was between Newdow and the Congress. That is when the first clause of the amendment was done by leading students in the Pledge of Allegiance . Under judiciability, there are various considerations that need to be made. The parties involved in the case must not be seeking advisory opinion. The parties must ensure that they have their stand during the ruling. There must be an actual controversy. Thus, the parties must be ready to receive different outcomes after the judgment.
Justiciability principle helps in separating political and legal decisions. Based on the principle, the parties must not be seeking judgment on a political question. The political questions include whether the country is at war with another state. For a plaintiff to have a political question you must ensure that you can clarify the issues and bring them as required by judiciary. For instance, the Victorian Relics Act in Australia made it an offence to endanger an Aboriginal relic. The judiciary in this act claimed that the plaintiffs had no standing order to injunctive relief.
Justiciability principle is based on the notion of alternatives disputes’ resolution mechanisms. The process entails delegation of adjudicatory powers that in the process ensure expediency. For example, through the administrative tribunals, the parties are entitled to a speedier, cheaper and convenient access to justice. In the process, the cases are disposed of faster and timely with fewer resources used. The Justiciability allows for access to expertise knowledge in relation to the
Disadvantages of Justiciability
Justiciability principle requires input of many stakeholders, such as de union, public interest group, and commercial entity, thus affecting the quality of judicial decisions. The judiciary views this as a disadvantage because the judicial matters are supposed to be dealt with independently. The judiciary is supposed to work as a separate identity to ensure that it gives the best to the members of the public. By interfering with the judicial powers meant that the judiciary would not be able to exercise their full authority.
Additionally, the role of the judiciary is to settle the disputes between parties in relation to the legal rights and duties. They should not dispute about the public policy. Introduction of Justiciability creates binding precedent. Binding precedent makes it hard for the legal issues to be properly argued and framed. The Judiciability amendment prevents the public interest litigation on enforcing government accountability. Thus, the plaintiff does not have interest of the case as the members of the public may have.
Redundancy of the justiciability principle in administration law
The law recognizes the importance of justiciability concept in Australian administrative law. The Australian administrative law system recognizes the critical role of justiciability principle. To date, the concept remains a significant element of the country’s administrative law system. Justiciability is not a redundant principle in administrative law. It is an evolving aspect of lawmaking. Despite the growth and wide application of the prerogative principle, the application of justiciability is growing albeit with limited application. Experts argue that, the “parliaments regularly expand and contract the subjects of the justiciable controversy”. Subject to the constitutional confines, it the role of the parliament to decide what disputes falls under the Justiciability principle. The parliament also creates the limits and facilities needed to solve the justiciable controversies and disagreements. In Australia for example, “the most common form of litigation, providing a substantial part of the caseload of courts of general jurisdiction, is the common law action for damages, framed in the tort of negligence, arising out of a motor vehicle accident”. Evidently, justiciable principle is still valid. Today, there are many scenarios where the principle is applied. Legal experts argue that “currently accepted approach to the justiciability of administrative action in Australian courts turns upon a number of elements”. With time, the formal categorization of state powers as not justifiable on the basis of the power source in a either a prerogative setting or based on the status of the executive decision makers have generally been abandoned. However, the exercise of non-reviewable powers remains. In Australia, many decisions are non-justiciable, purely on the basis of the subject matter. Many decisions are not immune from the judicial reviews on, though the Australian courts treat some decisions with a lot of caution. These include the decisions that affect the country’s’ security, defense, foreign affairs policy, prosecutor decisions to terminate a case or not, and granting of pardons to convicts.
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