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Features of the Rule of Law - Ministers and Public Officers Must Exercise the Powers Conferred on Them in Good Faith

MINISTERS AND PUBLIC OFFICERS AT ALL LEVELS MUST EXERCISE THE POWERS CONFERRED ON THEM IN GOOD FAITH, FAIRLY, FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE POWERS WERE CONFERRED, WITHOUT EXCEEDING THE LIMITS OF SUCH POWERS AND NOT UNREASONABLY

Nothing ordinarily authorizes the executive to act without strictly observing the laws they have to implement. Through JUDICIAL REVIEW, the judges enforce compliance by public authorities with the law, reviewing the lawfulness of administrative action taken by others. They are "auditors of legality", in the sense that they are not independent decision-makers, so they judge on the basis of law, not of technical expertise in a specific matter (as decision-makers usually do). They control the consistency of a decision with the law, and can identify some kinds of unlawfulness on the basis of which principle has been violated.

The statutory powers should be exercised in good faith.

A power must be exercised in a fair way, since the presumption is that the state does not intend to treat the citizens unfairly.

A decision-making power conferred by a statute must always be exercised so as to advance the policy and objects of the Act, and not to frustrate them or advance some other objects. No improper purpose should guide the exercise of the powers.

Those who exercise a power must not act beyond or outside the limits of the power conferred (i.e. ultra vires).

Judges that have to quash a decision as unreasonable must not consider what they would have decided if they were the decision-makers. The judgement on unreasonableness should me more similar to that on irrationality in the sense that the judge should intervene carefully. In fact, two reasonable persons can come to opposite conclusions acting reasonably, so the judgement is much more difficult than how it could seem.
di Luca Porcella
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