Module SXL-2120:
Administrative Justice

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Overall aims and purpose

Administrative Law is an optional module in the LLB programme. The aim of this module is to enable students to state and apply the rules of the English and Welsh administrative law dealt with in the course accurately and relevantly. Students will also be expected to develop a critical appreciation of judicial review in British constitutional context and to draw some comparisons particularly with respect to other common law countries. Students will be required to develop a critical understanding of the key concepts of English and Welsh administrative law, particularly the core grounds of judicial review, the distinction between void and voidable actions, jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional errors of law, and examine these concepts with respect to both constitutional context and complex legal problems. Students will develop a critical appreciation of the comparative merits of administrative law dispute resolution in both the Administrative Court, related tribunals and via other methods for accessing administrative law justice. The module also aims to enable students to critically evaluate the central relevance of human rights review in administrative law.

Course content

This course will examine core issues in the history, theory and contemporary legal doctrines of English and Welsh administrative law. In particular it will examine the intricacies of key conceptual arguments supporting certain grounds of judicial review and the relative constitutional and institutional competency of certain public bodies. It will differentiate between English and the developing Welsh administrative law where appropriate. The module examines the foundations of judicial review of public body actions and decisions, and the development of the central grounds of judicial review from the late 19th Century to the present day. Students will examine the place of judicial review in a constitutional democracy and draw comparisons with the administrative law systems of other common law countries. Specific reference will be paid to the importance of human rights review in administrative law, special procedures for accessing judicial review, and the mechanisms of dispute resolution, namely the Administrative Court, relevant tribunals and ombudsmen.

Assessment Criteria


• Knowledge of key areas/principles only • Weaknesses in understanding of main areas • Limited evidence of background study • Answer only poorly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure • Arguments presented but lack coherence • Several factual/computational errors • No original interpretation • Only major links between topics are described • Limited problem solving • Many weaknesses in presentation and accuracy

E- Fail:• Insufficient to fulfil the associated learning outcomes • Deficiencies in Knowledge even of key areas/principles • No evidence of understanding, even of main areas • No evidence of background study • Answer relies on tangential material and lacks a coherent structure • No arguments presented • Many factual/computational errors • No original interpretation • No links between topics are described • No attempt to solve problems • The presentation is very weak containing many inaccuracies


• Comprehensive knowledge • Detailed understanding • Extensive background study • Highly focussed answer and well structured • Logically presented and defended arguments • No factual/computational errors • Original interpretation • New links between topics are developed • New approach to a problem • Excellent presentation with very accurate communication


• Strong knowledge • Understands most but not all • Evidence of background study • Focussed answer with good structure • Arguments presented coherently • Mostly free of factual/computational errors • Some limited original interpretation • Well known links between topics are described • Problems addressed by existing methods/approaches • Good presentation with accurate communication

C- to C+

• Knowledge of key areas/principles • Understands main areas • Limited evidence of background study • Answer focussed on question but also with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure • Arguments presented but lack coherence • Has several factual/computational errors • No original interpretation • Only major links between topics are described • Limited problem solving • Some weaknesses in presentation and accuracy

Learning outcomes

  1. Compare and contrast different procedures for accessing administrative law justice, specifically the Administrative Court, tribunals and relevant ombudsmen.

  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the specific procedural requirements for accessing judicial review and the discretionary nature of administrative law remedies.

  3. Apply knowledge of the core grounds of judicial review to complex actual or hypothetical fact scenarios.

  4. Demonstrate an appreciation of the core grounds of judicial review, such as jurisdiction, legality, procedural propriety, legitimate expectations and proportionality review, particularly within the context of critically evaluating the importance of human rights review in contemporary administrative law.

  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the history of the Prerogative Writs and equitable remedies as a means for controlling the legality of public administration.

  6. Show an appreciation of the broader European and international reach of administrative law principles and some general knowledge of the similarities and divergences between the administrative of law of England and Wales, of Wales specifically, and of three other prominent common law countries, America, Canada and Australia.

  7. Assess the viability of competing theories for explaining the constitutional legitimacy of judicial review, including demonstrating a critical understanding of the conceptual distinction between void and voidable concepts, jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional errors of law and the relationship between public and private law.

  8. to describe, apply and evaluate the following doctrines of administrative law for controlling public administration by Judicial Review:

    • Jurisdiction; vires, collateral vires and ‘incidentally;
    • the vires requirements for statutory procedures;
    • the vires requirements for persons in public administration, including abdication, agency and delegation;
    • common Law and Human Rights disqualification of persons in public administration roles;
    • the Common Law tradition in relation to the control of administrative discretion;
    • the impact of European Union and Human Rights law on that Common Law tradition;
    • contemporary developments in the Common Law’s procedural and other controls of discretion.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Written Assignment 1
Final Examination 2

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

students are expected to complete 156 hours of independent study over 2 semesters this can be individually, but students are also encouraged to form study groups with peers, the module leader will provide significant guidance in relation to private study priorities and materials


This module will be taught by way of 22 x 2 hour inter-active seminars.

These will be primarily arranged around problem based learning where students will be presented with a real life problem of administrative law similar to those that will later be contained in the final examination. We will focus on answering the problems and applying relevant law.

Students will sometimes work in groups as well as individually. There will be opportunities to engage in debates and mock trials, but there is no expectation that students play a significant role in these activities if they do not feel comfortable doing so.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Develop the ability to interpret legal rules and employ techniques of legal reasoning competently and efficiently in order to offer a range of solutions and conclusions to actual or hypothetical complex legal problems, all supported by relevant academic literature, jurisprudence and legislative research. Such solutions will be clearly communicated and presented
  • Develop the ability to analyse complex legal issues, set against the background of the political, social, economic or cultural contexts in which they may arise
  • Develop those skills which are necessary for scholarship and research in legal subjects, namely the ability to identify relevant primary and secondary legal sources and to retrieve accurate legal information using paper and electronic sources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: