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Deference to the Administration in Judicial Review: Comparative Perspectives

  • Guobin ZhuEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Ius Comparatum - Global Studies in Comparative Law book series (GSCL, volume 39)

Abstract

Judicial deference to the administration is a concept and legal practice that is present to a greater or lesser degree in every constitutional system. The analysis of the national reports reveals why, how and when the courts defer to administrative actions.

In each constitutional system, deference is employed differently as the positioning of the judiciary within the separation of powers, the role of the courts as a mechanism of checks and balances and the scope of the judicial review differ. On the top of that, within the constitutional system itself, the way deference operates is complex, multi-faceted and usually covert within the same legal order.

Deference is granted on political and technical grounds. Within this framework though, what is political depends on a number of issues such as the societal values and the political timing. More specifically, it seems that topic of controversial nature, that wide portions of the society oppose, are perceived as political and therefore the courts are keener to grant deference. But the degree of deference depends on the characteristics of the dispute, the gravity of the issue, the level of technicality and whether the dispute is human rights related. It is also a dynamic concept as it is adjusted to the necessity of the circumstances.

Résumé

La déférence judiciaire envers l’administration est un concept et une pratique juridique plus ou moins présents dans tous systèmes constitutionnels. L’analyse des rapports nationaux révèle pourquoi, comment et quand les tribunaux s’en remettent aux actions administratives.

Dans chaque système constitutionnel, la déférence est utilisée différemment, car le positionnement du pouvoir judiciaire au sein de la séparation des pouvoirs, le rôle des tribunaux en tant que mécanisme de freins et de contrepoids et la portée de la révision judiciaire diffèrent. En plus de cela, dans le système constitutionnel lui-même, la façon dont la déférence fonctionne est complexe, multiforme et généralement cachée dans le même ordre juridique.

La déférence est accordée pour des raisons politiques et techniques. Dans ce cadre, cependant, ce qui est politique dépend d’un certain nombre de questions telles que les valeurs sociétales et le calendrier politique. Plus précisément, il semble que ce sujet de nature controversée, auquel s’opposent de larges parties de la société, est perçu comme politique et, par conséquent, les tribunaux sont plus enclins à accorder la déférence. Mais le degré de déférence dépend des caractéristiques du différend, de la gravité de la question, du niveau de technicité et de la question de savoir si le différend est lié aux droits de l’homme. C’est aussi un concept dynamique car il est adapté à la nécessité des circonstances.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law, City University of Hong KongKowloon TongHong Kong

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