The Supreme Court of Canada, the House of Lords, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and Administrative Law


  • D. H. Clark



The Supreme Court of Canada's contribution to the jurisprudence of administra tive law has been weak and fitful, erratic and lacking in attention to the principles of its own previous decisions. Failure to articulate points of distinction between its decisions has led to uncertainty in the law. The speaker suggested that the insufficiency of the Court's reasoning and the inadequacy of its citation might be reduced if judgments were more often delivered by more members of the Court thus increasing the individual research and writing of the Court so that its earlier fcmons would be kept in view and the case law developed more coherently. Furthermore, the Court should foUow the House of Lords in not considering itself bound by ds own decisions. The speaker regretted the Court's tendency to take mechanically conceptualise approach to substantive administrative law issues- if Canadian courts are to keep pace with those of other jurisdictions, the Supreme Court of Canada cannot continue to use outworn mumbo-jumbo as substitute for identifyltZtJ «»*"*»* societal interests that are the stuff of /hefPe?kfr aho discussed and compared the contributions of the House of Lords and of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Although it has fewer members the House of Lords has more dissenters in administrative law decisions than the Supreme Court of Canada, (whereas the Privy Council until 1966 could not have dissent). While the S.C.C. has been inconsistent and weak, the Privy Council has been consistent and weak. Although there have been occasional achievements, between 1951 and 1971 the Privy Council rendered series of regressive decisions that impaired coherent development of the administrative law in England and in the Commonwealth. ReidZhh^ i*' f" H0USe °f Lof* under the influenc* of the late Lord h^'^nuJf has enjoyed as most creative °n TegreSSiVe period inPrivy relation Council to public decisions> law si™ However *• earlyhaknZd 1960's mnnt rxiicc ft ££Icrt has*eenperfo