Transformations of Administrative Law in England: The «New» Administrative Tribunals

By Maria Cristina Pangallozzi


Running against the historical aversion to a State of droit administratif, the United Kingdom has started to develop a new and coherent structure of administrative justice. This new system of administrative tribunals is outlined in primary legislation issued in 2007, which specifies the features of these tribunals and contributes towards the expansion of their powers. Nevertheless, the tribunals’ true nature remains unclear, since they now appear to be hybrid bodies: a cross between a judicial authority and an administrative body. In any case, this transformation of tribunals appears to affect the English judicial system as a whole, and the role of common law courts and the framework of judicial review in particular. Embodying various legal natures, tribunals are not isolated in the common law system. It follows that there may still be space for further developments in this field, in light of the interaction between the English legal system, other national systems of civil law and the European legal order. The UK Supreme Court has expressed its view in some recent decisions, especially on the uncertainty arising pursuant to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The Supreme Court has also taken the opportunity to define the new role of the Upper Tribunal and the relationship between tribunals and other superior courts of record.