Does Outsourcing Improve or Weaken Administrative Justice? A Review of the Evidence

Public Law (Forthcoming)

29 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2021

See all articles by Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas

University of Manchester - School of Law

Date Written: November 5, 2020


This paper examines the impact of outsourcing on administrative justice in UK public services. It examines a number of case-studies concerning the performance of private contractors in the delivery of public services and the degree to which they have been able to ensure administrative justice. It is not possible to provide a single, overall answer as to whether outsourcing improves or weakens administrative justice. The possibilities and limitations of outsourcing, and its impact on administrative justice, need to be carefully considered in light of the particular governmental function, the policy context, and the capabilities of both private contractors and government. The quality of administrative justice provided through outsourced government is influenced by various factors: the scale and organisational complexity of public services; the professional knowledge required to administer them; the mechanisms by which government rewards contractors; the capability of government to monitor contractors; the focus given to the needs and perspectives of users; and the balance between values such as cost-efficiency and administrative justice norms.

Keywords: Administrative justice, Outsourcing, Redress, UK administrative law

JEL Classification: K23

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Robert, Does Outsourcing Improve or Weaken Administrative Justice? A Review of the Evidence (November 5, 2020). Public Law (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or

Robert Thomas (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - School of Law ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom


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