One: A functional framework


The administrative justice system is the mechanism through which government makes decisions about citizens’ rights and entitlements (in respect of, for example, social security, immigration and housing), and the processes through which people can challenge those decisions (for example, through judicial review, ombuds and tribunals). By scale, administration is by far the largest part of the state: it is where high-level policy discussions transform into the street-level coercion of citizens. Like many other areas of law, society and government, administrative justice is now beginning to see the impacts of rapid technological advances. Early attempts at ‘E-government’ and using ‘ICT’ are now accelerating towards the emergence of the digital administrative state, and the prophecies of futurologists are being put to the test. The essential promise of technology remains, as it always has done, of more and better for less effort. The fundamental concern also remains the same; that by using new technology, we alienate older methods – and their benefits – that we ought to be preserving. Looking at the present situation surrounding the developing digitalisation of administrative justice, it is clear that some new political dynamics are emerging as a result of recent changes. Activists are using online crowdfunding platforms to fund challenges to the policies of the government in the courts, advancing their campaigns through social media. At the same time, a Conservative government – pursuing a long-term programme of fiscal austerity in response to the global financial crisis of 2008 – is attempting the most ambitious digitalisation of courts and tribunals ever seen.

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Justice in the Digital State
Assessing the next revolution in administrative justic