Respectively, Law School, University of York and University of New South Wales; School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Research, University of Kent and School of Law, University College Dublin. We are grateful to John Blackie, Jenny Steele and Prue Vines who read an earlier draft of this article and provided helpful feedback.
Street-Level Tort Law: The Bureaucratic Justice of Liability Decision-Making
Article first published online: 3 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Authors. The Modern Law Review © 2012 The Modern Law Review Limited
The Modern Law Review
Volume 75, Issue 3, pages 347–367, May 2012
How to Cite
Halliday, S., Ilan, J. and Scott, C. (2012), Street-Level Tort Law: The Bureaucratic Justice of Liability Decision-Making. The Modern Law Review, 75: 347–367. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2230.2012.00904.x
- Issue published online: 3 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 3 MAY 2012
- bureaucratic justice;
- public authorities
Most legal scholarship on tort focuses primarily on judicial decisions, but this represents only a limited aspect of tortious liability. The vast majority of decisions concerning tortious liability are made by bureaucrats. Unavoidably then, there are two tiers of justice in tort law. This article focuses on the lower tier – bureaucratic decision-making – arguing that the justice of bureaucratic decisions on tort should be considered on its own terms and not by judicial standards. We develop the notion of bureaucratic justice, applying a normative framework originally set out in relation to public administration. This enables an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of different ways of bureaucratically determining liability claims in tort. The regimes discussed concern the liability of public authorities, but decision makers comprise both state and non-state actors and the bureaucratic justice framework is, in principle, applicable to understand and evaluate the liability of both public and private actors.