Administrative Law Matters

Commentary on developments in administrative law, particularly judicial review of administrative action by common law courts.

From Blogger

The Enlightenment of Administrative Law: Looking Inside the Agency for Legitimacy

In Sidney Shapiro, Elizabeth Fisher and Wendy Wagner’s fascinating article, they contrast the “rational-instrumental” model of administrative decision-making, which they describe as dominant, with the “deliberative-constitutive” model, which they prefer. If you are interested in the legitimacy of the administrative state, the article is a must-read. Under the former model, “agency accountability is ensured by […] Read more

From Blogger

Prescribing Greater Protection for Rights: Administrative Law and Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

My paper for this Saturday’s conference at the University of Ottawa in honour of Justice Charron is now available on SSRN. You can download it here. To whet your appetite, here is the abstract: In interpreting the “prescribed by law” requirement contained in section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian courts have […] Read more

From Blogger

Delegating Investigative Functions

A well-known rule of administrative law is delegatus non potest delegare: the beneficiary of a statutory power cannot delegate its exercise. This is only a rule of construction, though, and is subject to the famous Carltona exception, pursuant to which civil servants can act in the name of a minister named in a statute. A […] Read more

From Blogger

Pastagate: Enforcement Discretion

Language is the third rail of Canadian politics, so it is with some trepidation that I wander out onto the tracks to muse on enforcement discretion in the wake of recent controversy about the Charter of the French Language and the Office québécois de la langue française. “Pastagate” arose when the OQLF conducted an inspection […] Read more

From Blogger

Henry VIII Down Under

There are limits to what courts can do to thwart legislative enactments of Henry VIII clauses, which grant powers to the executive to modify legislation. Typically, Henry VIII clauses are included in legislation for limited periods of time, to facilitate the implementation of the statutory provisions. Much of what governs modern life is not produced […] Read more

From Blogger

Hate Speech at the Supreme Court of Canada

In an important decision yesterday in Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott, 2013 SCC 11, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld against constitutional challenge s. 14 of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code (albeit with slight modifications).  The legislation provides for private parties to make complaints to a human rights tribunal; s. 14 allows the tribunal […] Read more