This article critically reviews recent developments in the administrative
justice system; in particular, it considers three key themes: improving
initial decisions; administrative review; and the future of tribunals.
In each of these areas, some aspects of administrative justice work
well, but austerity has presented acute challenges in ensuring the fair
and just treatment of people through restrictions upon legal aid; the
withdrawal of some appeal rights; and the expansion of administrative
review. Consequently, the system is moving away from a ‘legal’ model
of administrative justice to the ‘bureaucratic rationality’ model, which
focuses upon accurate and efficient implementation. However, the
reality does not correspond with the goals of the model. Rather than
accurate and efficient implementation of policy, what we find is poor
decision-making made by junior officials with insufficient quality
controls. Digitising tribunals may have potential benefits in terms of
increased accessibility. Nonetheless, the prospects for administrative
justice are weak.