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Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution$
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Nicholas Bamforth and Peter Leyland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670024.001.0001

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Legal Accountability and Social Justice

Legal Accountability and Social Justice

Chapter:
(p.389) 16 Legal Accountability and Social Justice
Source:
Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution
Author(s):

Colm O’Cinneide

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670024.003.0016

Legal accountability as a mode of public sector governance is not expected to play an active role in ensuring the fair and just distribution of resources. This paper makes the case for courts to play a greater role in holding public authorities to account for how the substance of their resource allocation decisions impacts upon the lives of individuals, especially when such decisions expose individuals to a risk of destitution, deprive them of support essential to maintain a dignified existence, or otherwise have a grave impact on their wellbeing. It is time to re-assess the relationship between law and social justice, and to consider how administrative law, human rights law and other tools of legal regulation can be put to work to ensure that resource allocation decisions comply with the standards of a truly civilized society.

Keywords:   administrative law, human rights, legal accountability, public sector governance, resource allocation, public authorities, individuals, social justice, legal regulation

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