Administrative Law

Quick Info
(2010.04)  Course
Professor K. Glover Berger
4 credit(s)  4 hour(s);
Synchronous online, lecture-based with opportunities for discussion, review, and problem-solving
Upper Year Research & Writing Requirement

In this course, we will study the law of public decision-making. Administrative law applies to a diverse group of public officials who exercise delegated power and deliver public programs and services, including the Benchers of the Law Society of Ontario, the Landlord and Tenant Board, municipal councils, university committees adjudicating grade appeals, public inquiries, the Ontario Social Benefits Tribunal, the Registrar for Citizenship, and so on. Administrative decision-makers make countless decisions, many of which involve a great deal of discretion, that impact the daily lives of individuals and communities. Administrative law aims to ensure that these decisions are robust and justified, are unbiased and made according to fair procedure, consistent with constitutional demands, and within the scope of the decision-maker’s power.  In this course, we will critically examine whether administrative law achieves these aims. We will explore the following kinds of questions: How and why are certain public powers delegated to administrative decision-makers? What role do these decision-makers play in the structure of Canadian public life? What powers should be delegated? What principles should govern the design of administrative decision-makers to protect against and address individual and systemic bias? How do administrative bodies carry out their mandate and exercise their powers? What legal rules and principles govern their decisions and the processes followed in making them?  What legal rights do individuals have when they access public services? Of what relevance is administrative law for Indigenous self-governance? What role does administrative law play in both undermining and advancing reconciliation of Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous people in Canada? What are the principles and who are the actors of Aboriginal administrative law? When are courts justified in intervening in the decisions of public authorities? What remedies are available when public officials act unfairly, unreasonably or unlawfully? In answering these questions, we will seek to examine the rules of administrative law, the experiences of those affected by the administrative state, the ideals of justice that shape the law, the policy debates underlying administrative law, and the realities of practice in the administrative realm.