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Introduction to Administrative Law

Introduction to Administrative Law


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Published by: intcomlaw on May 15, 2009
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As in the case of the Parliamentary Commissioner and the Health Service
Commissioners, there are few limitations on the categories of complainant who
need not be ratepayers, residents or electors. Complaints must be made in writ-
ing to a member of the local authority within 12 months but, exceptionally,
when a complaint cannot be so referred, it may be made directly to a Local
Commissioner. Local Commissioners now enjoy a greater discretion to accept
complaints made out of time. Whatever the method of referral, the Local
Commissioner can refuse to undertake an investigation where the complaint
appears to affect all or most of the inhabitants in the local authority’s area.
Where a complaint is accepted for investigation, the Commissioner responsible
is obliged to give the local authority concerned a reasonable opportunity to
investigate and comment on the complaint. At the conclusion of an investiga-
tion a report is sent to the complainant, the member who referred the complaint
and the local authority responsible for the action which forms the basis of the
complaint. The authority is obliged to make copies of the report available for
public perusal and to advertise the fact of its availability. If the report concludes
that there has been injustice in consequence of maladministration, the local
authority is obliged to consider the report and to advise the Local
Commissioner of the action to be taken to deal with its findings. Where the local
authority fails to advise the Local Commissioner in this respect a special report
can be prepared by that Commissioner, highlighting the problem. Local authori-
ties are now specifically empowered to make payments or provide other bene-
fits for the purpose of redressing any reported injustice. Each Commissioner



reports to the Commission on an annual basis while the Commissions report to
a representative body, one for England and one for Wales, comprising persons
from those local authorities subject to investigation by the Local
Commissioners. Each Commission publishes a triennial report. The
Parliamentary Commissioner is a member of the Local Commissions as well as
being an ex officiomember of the Council on Tribunals, so emphasising the
importance of a close relationship between bodies which operate in areas where
complaints of administrative injustice can be closely related.

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