• administrative justice;
  • ombudsmen;
  • Big Society

This article argues that the political significance of the Coalition government's proposed changes to administrative justice, including the abolition of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council, is in danger of passing unnoticed, despite its potential significance for the Big Society agenda. It suggests that the retrieval of genuine perspective lies in paying closer attention both to the contemporary importance of administrative justice and to the political debates of the 1950s and 1960s, which set opposing views of administrative justice in broadly libertarian and egalitarian contexts respectively. It concludes that the recovery in particular of an egalitarian account of administrative justice is necessary to animate, and rebalance, the debate. Administrative justice might then be perceived as an essential part of a broader political vision and a significant aspect of social justice more ambitiously conceived.