Understanding Legal Issues in Decision-Making: The judge over your shoulder

In Legal and Judicial Reform by Amanda Anderson

Duration: 1 week
Dates: 27 June to 1 July 2022
Tuition fees: £2,290 (exc. VAT)

About the workshop
Law lies at the heart of public administration and policy making. Public services and administrative procedures are founded on legal rules and most policy decisions take effect through legislation. The principle that public decision-makers and office holders at even the most senior levels can be held to account in the courts for illegal, unjust or unconstitutional behaviour is the essence of the rule of law. Yet non-lawyer officials tend sometimes to treat legal issues as a nuisance that gets in the way of their work or to regard such issues as the exclusive province of their legally qualified colleagues. Neglecting or failing to understand the legal implications of decisions can have serious consequences when a Ministry or a local authority ends up by losing a high-profile case in the courts.

What the workshop will cover
This workshop will examine the impact of law and judicial decisions upon policy making and public administration and will explore ways in which the understanding and handling of legal issues in public bodies might be improved. During the workshop you will be able to explore current and continuing developments in administrative and constitutional law in the UK and in your own jurisdictions; the working relationships between lawyers and non-lawyers in public bodies; and the respective roles of adjudicative bodies such as administrative courts, tribunals and ombudsmen. The programme will consider these issues against the wider background of continuing transformative changes – including the growth of populist politics, the pervasive use of social media and the impact of major national and international crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

How participants will benefit
The workshop will give you the opportunity to:
• Examine the ways in which law has an impact upon decision making
• Highlight the nature, the importance and the limitations of the rule of law as the basis for the legal accountability of public office holders
• Discuss the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the administration of justice and the rule of law
• Explore the respective roles of lawyers and non-lawyers in the public service
• Familiarise you with recent and continuing developments in administrative and constitutional law in the UK which have relevance to your own jurisdiction
• Consider the respective roles of administrative courts and other adjudicative bodies and the relationships between them
• Visit, in person or online, practitioners in key organisations such as the Supreme Court, the Administrative Court, the Government Legal Department and a specialised tribunal
• Help you to identify practical ways in which the identification and handling of legal issues in your own organisation might be improved.