Helping you understand Welsh law

What does 'fettering' discretion mean?

Where legislation gives a public authority discretion to make decisions, e.g, to award a licence or to grant permission to carry out a development, the public authority must allow itself to consider each decision on its own merits; the public authority must not ‘fetter’ its discretion by applying a rigid or one-size-fits-all policy to all applications without considering the specific facts of each case. A decision that is made by a public authority that has fettered its discretion in this way may be challenged on the grounds that the decision is unlawful. It may also be challenged on the grounds that the procedure by which it was made was unfair, or on the grounds that it is unreasonable.

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