Facts: The petitioners complained that the Secretary of State for Transport was guilty of maladministration in confirming Road Orders without seeking an assurance from Norfolk County Council that the Balchins would be given adequate compensation for the effect of the road on their home. They now challenged the Ombudsman’s report, which had rejected their complaint, in judicial review proceedings
⇒ The judicial review was successful: in 1996 the decision of the PO not to investigate was quashed. In 1997, the PO reported on the matter once more, but again decided not to investigate. In 1999, the High Court quashed that decision. In 2000, the PO again reported on the matter, but again decided not to investigate. The High Court, in 2002, quashed that decision (for the third time!)
Held: In Balchin (No 2), Dyson J was concerned that the PO made his findings without giving adequate reasons.
⇒ So Balchin advances two key legal points:
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Facts: The Government issued guidance on pensions - guidance that was seriously flawed in that it created the impression that certain types of pension product were secure and well-funded, when they were not. The Government also changed ‘minimum funding requirements’ for such pensions, which only exacerbated the financial losses later experienced by the pension product holders.
⇒ The PO investigated the scandal and delivered a most damning report, alleging maladministration on the part of the Government occasioning serious injustice and considerable financial losses (losses have since been assessed in the £billions, not £millions).
⇒ The Minister rejected the report’s findings in its entirety.
Held: In judicial review proceedings, the High Court confirmed that it could not enforce the recommendations of the report, since they were not legally binding.
⇒ Thus, the Court of Appeal held that the misleading information the Government published on the security of the pension products amounted to maladministration occasioning injustice, and that the Minister’s rejection of such a finding was irrational
⇒ In other words, the Minister:
⇒ The outcome respects the important role of the PO in providing administrative redress, but affirms the idea that the PO’s functions operate within a political sphere, not a legal one.
Facts: The Upper Tribunals (which hears appeals from the First-Tier Tribunal) refused two claimants permission to appeal to it. The claimants sought judicial review of this refusal
Held: The Administrative Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court all rejected the claim in judicial review - but for different reasons…
⇒ The Administrative Court ruled that decisions of the Upper Tribunal were not amenable to judicial review at all, because the Upper Tribunal was an alter ego of the High Court
⇒ The Court of Appeal thought otherwise: they said that the Upper tribunal not alter ego of the High Court and so could in principle be subject to judicial review. However, it was within the lawful discretion of the Upper Tribunal to refuse permission to appeal
⇒ The Supreme Court took a different approach: the Upper Tribunal's decisions may be judicially reviewed, but only if the review poses an important point of principle or practice, or that there is some other compelling reason to hear the case in judicial review
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