The Historical Foundations of Judicial Review in the United Kingdom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter analyses judicially developed standards for reviewing administrative actions in the United Kingdom between 1890 and 1910. By exploring the context, reach, types and frequency of judicial review during that timeframe – fin de siècle – this historical analysis reveals both significant changes and significant continuities by comparison with twenty-first century standards. The chapter concentrates, in particular, on reported cases which undermine the Diceyan claim that administrative law did not exist in the United Kingdom during this timeframe, and reflects on the inconsistencies which pervaded that body of law. It concludes that some judges tended to deploy concepts which had the effect of restraining administrative actions, whereas other judicial constructs tended to facilitate the administrative arrangements contested in court. As such, it recommends that the role of judicial review at this time should be characterised with this duality of purpose firmly in mind.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdministrative Justice Fin-de-siècle
Subtitle of host publicationEarly Judicial Standards of Administrative Conduct in Europe (1890-1910)
EditorsGiacinto della Cananea, Stefano Mannoni
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198867562
Publication statusPublished - 04 Feb 2021


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