A Murky Methodology: Standards of Review in Administrative Law

New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law, Vol. 6, No. 117, 2008

Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 12/2011

48 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2008 Last revised: 26 Aug 2011

See all articles by Dean R. Knight

Dean R. Knight

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

The approach the courts should adopt when reviewing the "merits" of an administrative decision continues to be a vexed issue. For many years Wednesbury unreasonableness was regarded as the appropriate monolithic standard for this task. However, dissatisfaction with this standard has led to the development of alternative approaches, most notably the concept of variegated standards of reasonableness. This article explores the methodology adopted by New Zealand courts on this point and concludes that, while the courts have been prepared to adopt a sliding-scale of unreasonableness, the approach is under-developed and inadequate in a number of respects. From the existing experience, a refined five-standard framework is proposed to guide the degree of intensity the courts should adopt in their supervisory judicial review role.

Keywords: Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Intensity of Review, New Zealand, Unreasonableness, Irrationality

Suggested Citation

Knight, Dean R., A Murky Methodology: Standards of Review in Administrative Law (2008). New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law, Vol. 6, No. 117, 2008, Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 12/2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1285915

Dean R. Knight (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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