HL Deb 12 January 1998 vol 584 c122WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the citizen has a legitimate expectation that the Government and public authorities will generally provide reasons for administrative decisions directly affecting the citizen's rights and interests.

The Solicitor-General (Lord Falconer of Thoroton)

The Government recognise that giving reasons for administrative decisions contributes to good administration. The current Code of Practice on Access to Government Information commits government departments and certain public bodies to give reasons to those affected by administrative decisions.

The recent White Paper, Your Right to Know, proposes that a wider range of pubic bodies should be required to make "active" disclosure. Part of this requirement will be a general statutory duty to give reasons. The limitations on the duty will be the same as those on the corresponding duty to provide information on request.

Whether under the present law there is a duty to give reasons in any particular case, or an expectation that reasons will be given, depends on the circumstances of the decision and is a matter for the courts.