Q&As

Fraser’s view on Duty, Bias and Delegations in Decision Making

Tuesday July 11, 2017

Fraser Robertson, barrister and member of the Western Australian Bar Association, practices predominantly in commercial litigation, administrative law, deceased estates, family law and legal costs. Fraser is the Convenor of the costs committee of the Law Society of Western Australia and a member of the Civil Litigation Course Advisory Committee for the College of Law in Western Australia.

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You can hear more from Fraser at Duty, Bias and Delegations in Decision Making seminar, being held on Wednesday 06 September at Perth's Parmelia Hilton.

He joined Sintija Dobrotinsek of Legalwise Seminars to discuss issues about decision making for government agencies.

You can find the full Q&A below.

What are some of the key trends and developments in decision making for government agencies and local councils right now?

Ensuring that decisions are not infected by legal unreasonableness. One of the roles of government agencies and local councils is to exercise a particular statutory power by making discretionary decisions. Often there are no bounds to the discretion. There is, however, an implied obligation that exercise of that power is ‘reasonable’. Since the 2013 decision of the High Court in Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v Li, there has been much written aboutlegal unreasonableness, including in the high-profile case of Jacob v Save Beeliar Wetlands (Inc).

What’s one thing that should decision makers should consider when making statutory decisions?

Procedural fairness. Procedural fairness is the cornerstone of our justice system. Procedural fairness conditions the exercise of most administrative powers affecting the rights of individuals and organisations and should be at the forefront of a decision maker at all stages of the decision making process. 

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