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46 Money St
Perth, WA, 6000

+61 8 6460 5179

Planning and Environment Law Firm Perth. 


Administrative Law and the Powers of Government


An important element of Government law is administrative law. It is also an important component of environmental law and town planning law. In essence administrative law is concerned with conduct of the executive arm of Governement and the extent to which the actions of officials are within the scope of their statutory power. In theory at the State level, there may be a question of whether a particular action of Government is within the bounds of the power afforded to the State by the common law. That may be a question of relevance in considering property rights but is a subject for separate examination. Two recent administrative law cases relate to the powers of the executive in the area of environmental law. The first, Cockburn Cement Ltd v Minister for the Environment [2011] WASC 260 , concerned an environmental condition required by the Western Australian Minister for the Environment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) in an appeal decision. The second, Western Australian Land Authority (Landcorp) v Minister for Sustainability Environment, Water, Population and Communities [2012] FCA 226, related to a decision of the Commonwealth's delegate under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). The principles applied in these decisions are relevant to all Government decisions and actions. The primary question in each case is the power of the Government agency under the relevant Act and whether the official has gone beyond the scope of that power.

More analysis on these cases will follow in the future.