Regina v Local Commissioner for Administration for the North and East Area of England ex parte Bradford Metropolitan City Council: CA 1979

The court considered the meaning of ‘maladministration’ in the section.
Held: Lord Denning MR said: ‘It will cover ‘bias, neglect, inattention, delay, incompetence, ineptitude, perversity, turpitude, arbitrariness and so on.’ It ‘would be a long and interesting list’ clearly open-ended, covering the manner in which a decision is reached or discretion is exercised; but excluding the merits of the decision itself or of the discretion itself. It follows that ‘discretionary decision, properly exercised which the complainant dislikes but cannot fault the manner in which it was taken, is excluded,’ . . In other words if there is no ‘maladministration’, the ombudsman may not question any decision taken by the authorities. He must not go into the merits of it or intimate any view as to whether it was right or wrong.’
Parliament was ‘at pains’ to ensure that the Ombudsman should not conduct an investigation ‘which might trespass in any way on the jurisdiction of the courts of law or of any tribunals.’


Lord Denning MR


[1979] 2 All ER 881, [1979] QB 287


Local Government Act 1974 26


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedLegal and General Assurance Society Ltd v CCA Stationery Ltd ChD 12-Dec-2003
The claimant had managed a pension scheme for the respondent company. It now challenged a finding of maladministration of the scheme, with respect to the methods of calculation of discounts applicable to those leaving the scheme.
Held: Since . .
CitedEquitable Members Action Group, Regina (On the Application of) v Her Majesty’s Treasury Admn 15-Oct-2009
The applicants sought judicial review of the defendant’s response to a report of the Parliamentary Ombudsman finding maladministration by the defendant in rejecting the recommendation for compensation.
Held: The respondent’s rejection of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Administrative, Local Government

Updated: 16 June 2022; Ref: scu.188825