Blind justice: the pitfalls for


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  1. A third fundamental concept in administrative decision-making is that the decision-maker must have regard to considerations which are relevant to the exercise of a power and must, conversely, ignore considerations which are irrelevant to that. A failure to take into account a consideration can only amount to a jurisdictional error if it be a matter which the decision-maker was bound to take into account in making the decision45.

  2. Keeping one’s eye on the administrative ball in this way ensures that decision-makers do not exceed their authority by deciding matters on bases that are not open to them. The factors which determine whether a matter is one to which the decision-maker is bound to have regard are determined by the proper construction of the legislation, which may refer expressly to matters or necessarily imply that something is relevant. If the discretion to be exercised is unconfined, the decision-maker is authorized to consider any matter unless, having regard to the subject-matter, scope and purpose of the legislation it appears to be irrelevant to the exercise of the power46. Consideration of irrelevant material or the failure to consider relevant material in a manner that affects the exercise of power constitutes jurisdictional error47.

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