Ombudsmen, Tribunals, Inquiries: Re-Fashioning Accountability Beyond the Courts
25 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2012 Last revised: 1 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 22, 2012
Courts play a prominent and significant role in holding public bodies to account in the UK, most obviously through the exercise of powers of judicial review. However, the accountability 'system' extends far beyond the courts, encompassing (among other institutions) tribunals, ombudsmen and inquiries into matters of public concern. This chapter argues that accountability is a protean concept, and that the accountability system must therefore exhibit appropriate diversity if accountability in all its relevant senses is to be secured. This raises questions about the balance and relationship between legal and political mechanisms for supplying accountability. It is argued that an increasing tendency to view the legal-judicial model as a paradigm places other accountability institutions at risk of inappropriate judicialisation. That trend, it is contended, must not continue unchecked if the accountability system is to remain suitably diverse.
Keywords: political accountability, legal accountability, political constitutionalism, legal constitutionalism, judicial review, judicial independence, separation of powers administrative law, ombudsmen, tribunals, public inquiries, select committees
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K20, K23, K29, K30, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation