Legitimate Expectations and the Protection of Trust in Public Officials
Public Law, Vol. 2011, p. 330, 2011
33 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2010 Last revised: 3 Apr 2011
Date Written: October 8, 2010
This paper seeks to examine the conceptual justification behind the protection of legitimate expectations in England and Wales. It is contended that judicial explanation of this protection, based variously on fairness, abuse of power and good administration, is far too vague to be helpful. The approach of the ECJ, which justifies the protection of expectations by reference to legal certainty lacks plausibility and should not be followed. Instead it should be appreciated that the doctrine of legitimate expectations is a response to the need to protect the trust of those who have been the subject of an official representation. Appreciating the importance of trust to the doctrine provides us with guidance as to the scope of the doctrine, and as to how it ought to be applied. Moreover it demonstrates how the protection of legitimate expectations supports good administration and governance, and so shows how the doctrine interacts with the wider goals of public law.
Keywords: Legitimate Expectations, Trust, Legal Certainty
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