Helping you understand Welsh law

Oppressive decisions

  • A decision may be unreasonable if it is unduly oppressive or unfair. This may be because a decision places an unnecessarily onerous requirement on the affected person or subjects that person to an excessive hardship. In this type of challenge, the Court will assess the outcome of the decision-making process, rather than the process by which the decision is made, and will consider each case in its context. Examples of decisions that have been found to be unreasonable due to their unduly oppressive nature include:
  • a decision requiring a person to do something that he or she cannot legally do (e.g. a requirement for landlords to clean their lettings in April, May or June was unreasonable since landlords could have to trespass to enter their properties during those months)¬†(Arlidge v Islington Corporation [1909] 2KB 127).
  • a decision to use a compulsory purchase power by a local authority even though they already possessed, or were able to acquire by other means, equally suitable land¬†(Brown v Secretary of State for the Environment (1978) 40 P&CR 285).
  • a decision which imposes excessive penalties (Wheeler v Leicester City Council [1985] 1 AC 1054).
  • Finally, it is noted in this context that decisions as to funding allocations are subject to unreasonableness review, even where financial resources are limited. However, it will be very difficult for a claimant to show that a decision to allocate resources to a particular person is unreasonable¬†(R (Bibi) v Newham LBC [2002] 1 WLR 237).

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