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SKU: 6.8
  • Advice

    The definition of public authority can be summarized as a governmental organisation that carries out tasks in the public interest. Courts and tribunals are within this definition, but these are outside of the scope of this section. All public authorities have certain duties towards members of the public, which will be examined below. Public authorities are also defined in the Human Rights Act 1998. The significance of that fact leads to the conclusion that all public authorities must comply with human rights and an individual can bring legal proceedings in case of a breach.



    Certain conditions must be satisfied to bring a successful claim in negligence against a public authority:

    • Authority must be in a position of control over the third party;
    • Harm must be foreseeable; and
    • Assumed responsibility for an individual’s safety.

    These will be assessed by the court during the proceedings. Where there is a potential breach of human rights the individual may have a cause of action under s.6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998.


    Judicial Review

    A judicial review is the main procedure by which individuals may seek remedy against abuses of power by public authorities. A significant number of judicial review claims are brought against ministers, government departments, local authorities, health and education authorities, police and prison services. In the process, a judge reviews the lawfulness of an action or decision made by a public body.

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