The Federation Press

Administrative Law

Context and critique


Constant changes in administrative law reinforce the need for an up-to-date volume that critically examines the law in its contemporary, as well as historical, context.

This third edition assesses the overhaul of the federal and State Freedom of Information legislation in 2009-10, the potential impact of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth) and the implications of the resignation of the Commonwealth Ombudsman in 2011.

It also reviews a string of possibly far-reaching High Court rulings, notably Plaintiff M70/2011 (the ‘Malaysian Solution’ case), Plaintiff M61/2010E (detainees’ access to judicial review), Pape v Commissioner of Taxation (emergency fiscal power) and Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission (privative clauses).

Taken as a whole, these developments highlight the ever-evolving shape of administrative law. They underscore a central argument of this book — the necessity to examine the content and trajectory of administrative law in its political, administrative and socio-economic settings.

This edition is further fashioned from the rewarding experience of teaching administrative law since 1998.


Reviews of previous editions: A very useful guide that provides an overview of this difficult area of law as a primary guide for the student. Practitioners will also find it an invaluable first point of reference. The book is written in a clear and concise style [which] allows the reader to quickly establish the relevant principles ... The book achieves its purpose of making administrative law understandable, accessible and interesting. ... For those of us who work in this area of law, Michael Head’s book is an essential addition to the library. - CJ King, Victorian Bar News, Summer 2006

Head’s concise text ... gives an up-to-date, honest, pithy and accurate account of administrative law in Australia today. ... Nine chapters explain in thorough yet comprehensible detail the various areas of judicial review available to parties aggrieved by an administrative decision. - Sarah Keenan, (2006) 26 Qld Lawyer 268

This is a book which every person interested in current affairs will find of the greatest interest, whether lawyer, politician, journalist or inquisitive reader.
I cannot leave this review without complimenting Dr Head, on the depth of original and up to date discussion contained in the second edition, following so soon after the first. - BJM, Law Letter, Journal of Law Society of Tasmania, Spring 2008 - Issue 101

It is written in a clear and concise manner that makes it very readable. the facts of cases and other events are well explained, so that those who might lack a background understanding of cases or events will not be disadvantaged. - (200) 16 AJ Admin L 173

Table of Contents

What is Administrative Law?
How to Approach Administrative Law
The Constitutional and Legal Framework
Where to Begin? Non-Judicial Review of Administrative Action
Other Avenues of Review: The Ombudsmen, Freedom of Information and the Right to Reasons
Delegated Legislation and Statutory Interpretation
Introduction to Judicial Review: Jurisdiction, Justiciability and Standing
“Simple” Ultra Vires: Decisions Made Beyond Power
“Extended” Ultra Vires: Abuse of Power
“Extended” Ultra Vires: Refusal to Exercise a Discretion
Procedural Fairness (Natural Justice)
The Content of the Hearing Rule
The Bias Rule, Reasons and Probative Evidence
Substantive Fairness? Estoppel: Undertakings Regarding the Future Exercise of Power
Status of Unlawful Decisions and Ouster Clauses
The Final Hurdle! Judicial Remedies and the ADJR Act
An Brief Overview and Exam Advice
Case Study 1: A Simple Case of Review of Cancellation of Pensions?
Case Study 2: The Removal of the Kosovar Refugees

Table of Cases / Table of Statutes / Key Word and Phrases/ Index

Of interest...