UK Administrative Justice Institute (UKAJI) : A research resource for everyday justice
(Author: Margaret Doyle, Senior Research Fellow, UK Administrative Justice Institute) ‘What is administrative justice?’ is one of the pages on UKAJI’s website most viewed by visitors. Does this suggest that readers don’t know what it means, or is it simply difficult to define?
We’ve spent a lot
Administrative justice deals with far more ‘cases’ of alleged injustice and directly affects a much larger section of the population in their day-to-day lives than do the civil, family or criminal justice systems. Everyone interacts regularly with, or is affected by, administrative systems and administrative decision-making, and many do, or could, go on to challenge decisions and seek redress.
For users, reformers, researchers, advisers, policy makers and those working within it, this area of the justice system presents particular challenges. The ‘system’ is made up of different systems – the public bodies making initial decisions (and rules and guidance governing those decisions); the tribunals, complaints, ombuds and other mechanisms that operate at local and national level; and the different approaches taken by government in devolved jurisdictions. Administrative justice is susceptible to fragmentation and silo isolation, making it difficult to share lessons.
Focus on research and evidence
Evidence derived from independent rigorous research should be key when designing redress mechanisms and reforming administrative justice. This demands greater collaboration between independent researchers and government departments/public bodies to identify research needs, improve data recording and facilitate access to data. This is a role that UKAJI has been asked to fill and has progressed over the past three years.
It has become evident during UKAJI’s life is that there is a great deal of research being undertaken relating to ‘administrative justice’, some, but not all, by empirical legal researchers in university law departments. However, as institutional memory fades, past research can be lost. It is also clear that many people are involved in delivering ‘administrative justice’ but do not see themselves as part of an administrative justice system and do not look to that ‘system’ for evidence or useful learning.
UKAJI’s website is a resource for those wanting to understand what administrative justice is all about, and it fills this role in a number of different ways:
Mapping administrative justice
First stop might be What is administrative justice? On this page you’ll find links to the reports of research projects mapping administrative justice in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You’ll also find a discussion paper exploring the boundaries of administrative justice.
What do we know and what do we need to know?
We have produced a number of overviews of research (and research gaps) in specific areas of administrative justice, including:
- Seminar, papers and bibliography of research on Benefit sanctions and inequalities
- Rapid response review on what do we know about indefinite immigration detention
- Workshop, papers and presentations on researching users’ perspectives
Live research projects
Want to know what research is being done in administrative justice? In the Resources and E-Library section, we have our database of Live Research Projects and project profiles, which is updated twice a year. You can search the Live Projects database by researcher name, keyword, funder and more.
Summaries of research
We also have summaries of research that has been carried out on aspects of administrative justice, including tribunals and courts, ombuds and mediation. The summaries include many that were produced by Advice Services Alliance as part of its ADRnow website, and they are published here with permission of Advice Services Alliance and the UCL Centre for Access to Justice.
On the Useful Links page you’ll find information on related blogs, links for the former oversight bodies the Administrative Justice Forum (AJF) and Administrative Justice and Tribunals
Council (AJTC), and descriptions of related research projects and links to those project websites.
The blog is on our Home page and includes commentaries and reports of research, research events, and summaries of recent research. It also includes our monthly What’s New update on developments in administrative justice.
You can receive blog posts to your email inbox or Twitter account by subscribing to the blog using the Join In facility.
You can find particular blog posts and topics in a number of ways: that term appears. You can search, for example, for all the mentions of ‘legal aid’ or ‘judicial review’ using this box. that month.
- Use the Search box at the top of every page to enter your own search term. Entering a term here and clicking will take you to all the posts in which that term appears. You can search, for example, for all the mentions of ‘legal aid’ or ‘judicial review’ using this box.
- Use the month-by-month Archive of Blog Posts: A pull-down menu on the Home page lists posts by the date on which they were published. By clicking on a month, you will get to all the posts published that month.
- The Recent Posts list: This lists the most recent blog posts by title, and you can click the one you want to get to the actual post.
Categories: The subjects covered by the blog posts are listed to the right. You can click on any of the categories to get to all the posts on that particular subject.
Get in touch
UKAJI welcomes contributions from researchers, practitioners, policy makers and others interested in this field. The style of the blog is to be accessible to range of audiences, so we encourage contributions that are clear and engaging. More details about contributing to the blog can be found here.