Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution, edited by Nicholas Bamforth and Peter Leyland, has just been published by Oxford University Press. Full details of the book can be found here on the OUP website. My chapter is entitled “Ombudsmen, tribunals, inquiries: re-fashioning accountability beyond the courts”.

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 10.33.50In it, I note that while courts play a prominent and significant role in holding public bodies to account in the UK, most obviously through the exercise of powers of judicial review, the accountability ‘system’ extends far beyond the courts, encompassing (among other institutions) tribunals, ombudsmen and inquiries into matters of public concern. I argue that accountability is a protean concept, and that the accountability system must therefore exhibit appropriate diversity if accountability in all its relevant senses is to be secured. This raises questions about the balance and relationship between legal and political mechanisms for supplying accountability. I suggest that an increasing tendency to view the legal-judicial model as a paradigm places other accountability institutions at risk of inappropriate judicialisation. That trend, I argue, must not continue unchecked if the accountability system is to remain suitably diverse.

A draft version of my chapter can be found here on SSRN.

Posted by Mark Elliott

Mark Elliott is Professor of Public Law at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee. All views on this blog are expressed in a purely personal capacity.

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