This course is an introduction to the body of law that governs administrative and regulatory decision-making. The administration (or executive branch of government) implements legislative policy and delivers government services in fields such as public health and safety, immigration, labour relations, social benefits, securities regulation, business licensing and approvals, communications and broadcasting, and environmental protection. The administration also incorporates numerous ‘court like’ tribunals, such as labour arbitrators, landlord-tenant boards, immigration appeals tribunals, and human rights commissions, that adjudicate disputes and implement policy outside of the courts.
The course does not focus on any single substantive area of law or policy but rather on the role of the courts in reviewing administrative and tribunal decision-making. It examines judicial oversight of administrative decision-makers through doctrines of procedural fairness (how administrative decisions are made, the entitlement of individuals to participate in decision-making that affects them, and impartiality and independence of decision-makers) and substantive review (the degree to which courts will review the merits or outcomes of administrative decisions). The course also explores policy debates about the rules and principles in the field as well as theoretical themes arising from the relationship between the courts and other branches of the state. In these respects, the course examines foundational rules and principles that apply across many areas of practice and policy-making.
Students are expected to read the assigned materials each week, typically including excerpts from a textbook or from statutes as well as prominent cases, and to be prepared for class discussions. Problem-solving and analytical activities may also be used in class to allow students to assess and track their understanding of the subject as we proceed.