Legitimate Expectation: Domestic Principles
Abstract:Legitimate expectation is a key principle within judicial review. Many cases succeed, or at least get off the ground, by relying on one. The applicant will say to the court: (a) I have one; (b) it is under threat; and (c) the court should protect me. As with proportionality, focus emerges out of cloudy (Euro-) scepticism. Gone are the days when home-grown procedural fairness meant we had no need to elevate this “catch-phrase” into a principle (Lloyd v McMahon  AC 625 at 714G): the “catch-phrase” has now “achieved an important place in developing the law of administrative fairness” (Behluli v Secretary of State for the Home Department  Imm AR 407 at 415). Gone too are the days when home-grown Wednesbury reasonableness meant no place for the “heresy” of substantive legitimate expectation (R v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex p. Hargreaves  1 WLR 906): the “heresy” has since been domesticated (R v North and East Devon Health Authority ex p. Coughlan  2 WLR 622). And more can be expected of the principle, since: “The limits to its role have yet to be finally determined by the courts. Its application is still being developed on a case by case basis” (Coughlan, at para. 71). This article seeks to summarise the current position in English law.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2000
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