Law and Philosophy 30 (6):699-728 (2011)
|Abstract||That government agencies and public bodies can be liable for damages when they induce and then frustrate peopleâ€™s legitimate expectations is an important and distinctive feature of administrative law in Europe. This article sets out to establish a set of moral principles and ideals that might justify this legal institution. The notion of security of expectations found in the work of utilitarian writers provides a starting point. Having examined the strengths and weaknesses of this approach, I then turn to consider an alternative argument based on finding a solution to the problem of credible commitments. Finally, I look for suitable moral arguments in the liberal and Kantian political theorising of John Rawls. I argue that if we see the function of the rule of law as not merely to maximise aggregate utility and to make policymakersâ€™ decisions seem credible but also to ensure Justice as Fairness for individuals, then this provides a more robust and satisfactory way to justify the liability of public bodies for legitimate expectations they induce and then frustrate|
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