The approach taken by the Courts in three recent judicial review cases (set in a planning law context) provides a useful overview of relevant factors considered by the Courts when evaluating the adequacy of reasons given by public bodies.  The following key points are covered:

  • Subject to any relevant statutory duty, there is no general common law duty on public bodies to give reasons for their decisions.
  • The Courts have indicated that reasons should be given where either (1) a decision without reasons is insufficient to achieve justice or (2) the decision appears aberrant. 
  • Recent caselaw highlights that:
    • it is imperative not only for the reasons given to be clear, but also for any relevant documentation in which they are set out to be adequately cross-referred to in the decision document; and
    • the degree of particularity required for the provision of adequate reasons depends on the extent to which affected individuals are aware of the pertinent issues behind a particular decision, and any relevant statutory context in which a duty to give reasons is imposed.

To access our briefing on these cases, click here.