Summer Reading I: Sossin & Lawrence, Administrative Law in Practice: Principles and Advocacy

As I am slowly getting back to work after the summer break, I thought it might be useful to share with readers some of the books I have been reading over the holidays.

Lorne Sossin and Emily Lawrence have produced a very useful text, Administrative Law in Practice: Principles and Advocacy. As the authors describe it:

Administrative Law in Practice: Principles and Advocacy is a practice-oriented guide for lawyers and other legal professionals.

Authors Lorne Sossin and Emily Lawrence combine a thorough review of case law, historical development, and policy rationales with practical guidance for successfully advocating in a variety of administrative law forums. This blended approach ensures readers have a comprehensive understanding of important topics like constitutional considerations, procedural fairness, discretionary powers, standards of review, and public and private law remedies against governmental action.

Whether you are newly called, new to this area of practice, or looking for a go-to resource to incorporate into your work, this text will deepen and enrich your knowledge of administrative law.

This is a succinct overview of Canadian administrative law, focusing both on front-line decision-making and on oversight by the courts. Designed as a user-friendly guide to the “abstract terminology, abstract tests and, sometimes, counter-intuitive reasoning” of administrative law (xix), the authors address the basic constitutional and common law framework for administrative decision-making (in Part I: “Foundations of Canadian Administrative Law”) and the practicalities of administrative decision-making (in Part II: “Advocacy and Practice”).

This book will be particularly useful for two types of reader, first the lawyer who does not specialise in the general principles of administrative law but who needs to grasp them for the purposes of representing a client before an administrative tribunal, on appeal or on judicial review; and second non-lawyer decision-makers working on the front lines of public administration, who need to be aware of how their role is shaped by administrative law.

Indeed, given the clarity and concision with which the core issues are presented, the potential audience for this book is wider still. Any individual who comes into contact with the administrative state — that is to say, almost all of us — would come away from this book with a better idea of how to interact effectively with front-line administrative decision-makers. Chapter 8, “Advocacy Before Government Departments” is particularly useful in this regard, a short and sharp introduction to how to engage with public officials, and the rest of Part II is in the same vein.

In short, I enjoyed this administrative law civics lesson very much indeed and hope it finds a wide audience.

This content has been updated on September 7, 2018 at 12:26.