Expertise, Deference and Giving Reasons

12 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2011 Last revised: 7 Nov 2011

See all articles by Farrah Ahmed

Farrah Ahmed

University of Melbourne - Law School

Adam Perry

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

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Date Written: October 10, 2011


There is a consensus among courts and commentators on the grounds for a duty to give reasons in administrative law. Traditionally, the duty has been justified as a way to promote good decision-making, show respect for the parties, and reveal potential grounds for a challenge to the decision. We argue that this traditional picture is incomplete, because it omits two important considerations that favour giving reasons. Giving reasons can provide evidence that a decision-maker is a relative expert, and thus provide evidence of a reason to defer to the decision-maker. Giving reasons can also indicate a decision-maker’s findings on specific issues, making it possible for an appellate or reviewing body to selectively defer to it. Together these points show that concerns of deference are relevant to when administrative decision-makers should give reasons.

Keywords: expertise, giving reasons, reasons-giving, administrative law, deference, Doody, Cunningham, reasons, Dental Surgery

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Farrah and Perry, Adam, Expertise, Deference and Giving Reasons (October 10, 2011). Public Law, Forthcoming, Oxford Student Legal Studies Paper No. 09/2011 , Available at SSRN:

Farrah Ahmed (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010


Adam Perry

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

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