6 December 2011

TID-BIT: Cabinet Collective Responsibility and Ministers Outside Cabinet

So, the Dominion Post reports ("Banks, Dunne strike a deal with National"):

"Dunne  - a strong 1080 opponent - will also keep his Associate Minister of Health post. He will be a minister outside cabinet, which means he is not bound by collective responsibility."

No. Not quite.

The position on this has been settled for a number of years now,* and is more nuanced than that.

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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