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ADMINISTRATIVE LAW | SPPA / Fairness (Administrative)

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Reasons for Decision


A very common ground of appeal is that the 'reasons for decision' are inadequate. Decisions (for orders, judgments and similar) should, with rare exceptions, be accompanied by adequate judge's or adjudicator's written reasons. In my opinion, this is a vexed area of law because of the court's refusal to establish firmly a principle that was urged 20 years ago in R v Sheppard (SCC, 2002):
[28] ... The simple underlying rule is that if, in the opinion of the appeal court, the deficiencies in the reasons prevent meaningful appellate review of the correctness of the decision, then an error of law has been committed.
Absence of such 'reasons' simply leaves one in ignorance of the basis for the ruling, what everyone involved should do legally and factually do different in future - and with a profound loss of trust in the legal system. Indeed, without written reasons, the common law can't exist.


Reasons - R v Sheppard (SCC, 2002)
Reasons - Post Sheppard SCC Cases
Reasons - Post-Vavilov (SCC) Cases

Reasons - Adequate Reasons Discussed (1) | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Reasons - May Be Inferred from the Record
Reasons - Degree of Canvassing Evidence
Reasons - Sufficiency for Review
Reasons - Third Party Copying
Reasons - 'Self-Plagiarism'
Reasons - When a Duty?
Reasons - Inadequate Reasons Not a Free-Standing Ground of Appeal?
Reasons - Not Reflected in Pleadings
Reasons - Data-dump Reasons
Reasons - Late Reasons
Reasons - Copied Reasons
Reasons - Inadequate Reasons Arguments and Cynicism
Reasons - Reasons and Credibility
Reasons - Ignoring Issues
Reasons - Proportionate to Importance of Issue to Party ('Responsive Justification')
Reasons - Oral Only
Reasons - None Given
Reasons - Citing Law
Reasons - Municipality
Reasons - Presumption of Consistency with Correct Law and Record
Reasons - Failure to Make Alternate Findings
Reasons - High-Volume Tribunal
Reasons - Adopting One Side's Submissions Without More
Reasons - Inadequate Reasons and Administrative Fairness
Reasons - Required When Non-Statutory Powers
Reasons - Political Forum
Reasons - Remedy
Reasons - Failure to Address All Evidence
Reasons - Corrections
Reasons - Cautions
Reasons - Inadequate Time to Write
Reasons - 'Read Generously'
Reasons - Adequate Given at Administrative Level


In a very important sense, 'reasons for decision' was the essential issue underlying the recent key Vavilov (SCC, 2019) case. Vavilov promoted 'reasonableness' to the central role in the standard of review applicable to judicial review. Vavilov has set out extensive case guidance on 'reasonableness', and therefore the required contents of adequate 'reasons for decision' - at least for judicial reviews which overwhelmingly involve administrative law.

Now, when a court considers a judicial review (JR) on the issue of 'inadequate reasons', the issues are much the same as those they would consider regarding the JR standard of review (SOR) [see s.5 'Standard of Review' in this Judicial Review Guide]. The allocation of the cases between the two Guide sections follows the court's own allocation - ie. whether they characterize the issue as a 'standard of review' issue, or an 'inadequate reason' issue.

Judicial Review - Reasons


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Last modified: 07-06-24
By: admin