Legitimate Expectation

March 1st, 2019 by James Goudie KC

In R (RD) v Worcestershire County Council (2019) EWHC 449 (Admin), Nicklin J, dealt with the law on legitimate expectation from paragraph 75 of his Judgment.  He found that frustration of a legitimate expectation was not lawful.  He said:-

Paragraph 77: It may be difficult to decide whether a promise should be considered as inducing a procedural legitimate expectation or a substantive legitimate expectation;

Ibid:  In both cases, if the legitimate expectation is established, the Court will require the promise to be fulfilled, unless there is an “overriding reason” to resile from it;

Ibid: The question is whether the frustration of the expectation is “so unfair that it amounts to an abuse of power”;

Paragraph 81:  The representation must be “clear, unambiguous and devoid of relevant qualification”;

Paragraph 84:  Reliance and detriment do not need to be shown in every case;

Paragraph 85:  The proper analysis is that absence of reliance and detriment may well be factors that the Court considers when deciding whether frustrating the legitimate expectation would be “an abuse of power”;

Paragraph 91:  Nor is knowledge of the representation a requirement;

Paragraph 94: A legitimate expectation by parents of implementation of a transition plan to mitigate the impact of a decision to withdraw a service and take away a benefit for children in need constituted a substantive legitimate expectation.



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