Washminster

Washminster
Washminster

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Delegation

It is a principle of Administrative Law in the UK that only the person or body given the power to make a decision, can take that decision. Where it is passed on to someone else, the decision can be challenged on the grounds of "unlawful delegation".

One example of this would be where a committee is given a statutory power to make a decision, but appoints an advisory committee or an individual to make recommendations. That in itself is fine. The problem arises if the committee merely rubber stamps the recommendation. There needs to be evidence that they have considered the recommendation - and come to a decision themselves that the recommendation merits being adopted.

One "exception" to the rule is that a senior civil servant can make decisions on behalf of the Minister. This was established in the Carltona Ltd v Commissioners of Works case. [1943] 2 All ER 560. Martin Stanley in his note "How to be a Civil Servant" explains "It is essential to note at the outset that a person exercising a power for and on behalf of another does so as the ‘agent’ or ‘alter ego’ of the person in whom the power is vested. That is, the act of the authorised person is, at law, the act of the person in whom the power is vested. This is fundamentally different to the act of a delegate which, at law, is the delegate’s and not the delegator’s act."

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