A Murky Methodology: Standards of Review in Administrative Law
New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law, Vol. 6, No. 117, 2008
48 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2008 Last revised: 26 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2008
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: Suggested Citation