Oxford Public Law Book Festival: Joanna Bell, 'The Anatomy of Administrative Law' (Hart Publishing 2020)

Event date
19 October 2021
Event time
17:00 - 18:30
Oxford week
MT 2
Online - Zoom Meeting
Joanna Bell; Alistair Mills; Sarah Nason; Christopher Knight

The Oxford Public Law Book Festival is delighted to invite you to a discussion of Joanna Bell's new book, 'The Anatomy of Administrative Law'. The event will bring together several public law experts who will discuss the argument and themes of the book.

About the Book

This book seeks to further our understanding of the nature of administrative law doctrine and adjudication. It has three main aims. The first is to improve understanding of administrative law's 'anatomy' by pulling the subject apart and exploring the nature of the legal structures at play in adjudication. In doing so, the book emphasises three main ways in which administrative law's anatomy is both complex and diverse, namely:

- administrative law doctrine interacts with a broad array of legislative frameworks;
- administrative law adjudication seeks to accommodate a variety of legal values; and,
- administrative law is concerned with legal relationships of different kinds.

The second aim is to illustrate the importance of recognising the complexity and variety of administrative law's anatomy in three particular doctrinal contexts: procedural review, legitimate expectations and standing.

The third and final aim is to raise an important but under-explored question: is it plausible and useful to attempt to make sense of administrative law doctrine by reference to a singular organising concept or principle?

The overarching message of the book is one of cynicism. The complexity and variety of administrative law's legal structures probably means that attempts to explain the field 'monistically', while they may capture important themes, will be unhelpfully reductionist. Ambitious and thought-provoking, this is an important new statement on administrative law.

About the Author

Joanna Bell is an Associate Professor at the Law Faculty, and Jeffrey Hackney Tutorial Fellow in Law at St Edmund Hall. She teaches Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Tort for the college, as well as Environmental Law for the Faculty. 

Joanna's main research interest is Administrative Law and its areas of overlap with other fields such as Planning Law and Environmental Law. She has written on an array of topics within the area including legitimate expectations, reason-giving, tribunals, review of statutory construction and standing. In 2020 she will publish a monograph entitled The Anatomy of Administrative Law which explores the legal structures which are in play in adjudication. Joanna's research has been cited in the UK Supreme Court a number of times. (See Dover DC v  CPRE Kent [2017] UKSC 79; Finucane's Application for Judicial Review  [2019] UKSC 7; Privacy International v Investigatory Powers Tribunal [2019] UKSC 22). 

Prior to taking up the post of Associate Professor and Jeffrey Hackney Tutorial Fellow, Joanna spent a number of years as a College Associate Lecturer at St John's College, University of Cambridge and Affiliated Lecturer at the Cambridge Law Faculty. In earlier years, she was a student at the University of Oxford. Joanna graduated from the BA in Law from Keble College sharing the Wronker Prize for best overall performance in FHS examinations. She then read for the BCL (obtaining a distinction) and the DPhil in Administrative Law, generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. During her time at Oxford Joanna also held a series of lecturerships, including a stipendiary post at Lady Margaret Hall. 

About the Discussants

Alistair Mills is a barrister at Landmark Chambers, whose areas of practice are planning and environmental, and public law.  He is the author of Interpreting the NPPF: the New National Planning Policy Framework (Bath Publishing, 2018).  In 2019 and 2020 he was ranked by Planning Magazine in the list of the top-rated planning juniors under 35.  He has appeared in leading cases in the Court of Appeal.  He has been a member of the Attorney General’s Panel of Civil Counsel (C Panel) since 2017 (moving up to the ‘B’ panel on 1 September 2021). Since 2012, he holds the Dias College Lectureship in law at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Sarah Nason is a Lecturer in Administrative Law and Jurisprudence at Bangor College. She holds a BA 1st Class from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from University College London. Her research interests are in public law, administrative justice, devolution, comparative public law and jurisprudence (legal philosophy). Sarah is a member of the editorial board of the journal Public Law, an executive committee member of Public Law Wales and a member of the UK Administrative Justice Council Academic Panel. Sarah has recently been appointed a National Assembly for Wales Academic Fellow for 2019.

Christopher Knight is a well-established junior at 11KBW Chambers, with a broad public law practice and a particular specialism in media and privacy law, the devolution settlement and in Brexit-related matters. He has appeared in the most significant constitutional law cases of the last few years, including the Article 50 Brexit case, all three Scottish devolution references and the challenge to the prorogation of Parliament. He has carried out a significant amount of advisory and litigation work in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. He has acted as sole advocate before the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Court of Justice of the EU. He is a leading expert in information and data protection law. Christopher is also a highly regarded academic writer, publishing widely in journals and is the co-author of the leading textbook Bradley, Ewing & Knight on Constitutional and Administrative Law (2018, Pearson). He is also an editor of the White Book and a member of the Editorial Committee of Public Law. Christopher is a member of the Attorney General’s and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panels of Counsel and is ranked as a Band 1 junior by the directories in Administrative & Public Law, Data Protection and EU Law.


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Public Law