Rethinking Deference for Algorithmic Decision-Making

40 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2018

See all articles by Rebecca A. Williams

Rebecca A. Williams

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 31, 2018


We are used to enquiring whether administrative law adopts a sufficient level of 'deference', where particular tasks have been delegated to particular human entities as a result of their particular expertise or accountability. However, as we move increasingly away from human intervention towards the use of automated algorithmic decision-making by public authorities we will need to re-think our traditional instincts on this front. This article considers the situations in which such automated decision-making is already or may shortly be used and the challenges (as well as potential advantages) that this brings. It examines how the traditional doctrines of administrative law can be strengthened in order to address these challenges, optimise these benefits and ensure that administrative law can continue to play a significant role in this more digital context.

Keywords: Algorithmic decision-making, public law, administrative law, deference

JEL Classification: K23

Suggested Citation

Williams, Rebecca A., Rethinking Deference for Algorithmic Decision-Making (August 31, 2018). Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 7/2019, Available at SSRN: or

Rebecca A. Williams (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pembroke College
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 1DW
United Kingdom
01865 286274 (Phone)
01865276418 (Fax)


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