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The Australian National University

The Reasonableness of Proportionality in the Australian Administrative Law Context

Janina Boughey (2015) 43 (1)

Although the High Court has never ruled on the issue, the prevailing view has been that unless parliaments enact bills of rights, the principle of proportionality does not and cannot play a role in judicial review of administrative decisions in Australia. Yet in Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v Li, a majority of the High Court hinted that this may not be the case. This article analyses the reasons for Australia's longstanding reluctance to embrace proportionality in the administrative law context, and whether the decision in Li has altered this position. It then explores overseas developments in proportionality review which reveal that the principle may take on many forms in the administrative law context, with differing implications for the separation of powers. The article finds that it might be possible to accommodate certain methods of applying proportionality within Australia's judicial review framework, but not without significant broader changes to judicial review of administrative action in Australia.

Vol 43, Issue 1, 2015

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