“In their beautifully written book, O’Brien and Doyle tell a story of small places – where human rights and administrative justice matter most. A human rights discourse is cleverly intertwined with the debates about the relationship between the citizen and the state and between citizens themselves. O’Brien and Doyle re-imagine administrative justice with the ombud institution at its core. This book is a must read for anyone interested in a democratic vision of human rights deeply embedded within the administrative justice system.”
—Naomi Creutzfeldt, University of Westminster, UK
This book reconnects everyday justice with social rights. It rediscovers human rights in the 'small places' of housing, education, health and social care, where administrative justice touches the citizen every day, and in doing so it re-imagines administrative justice and expands its democratic reach. The institutions of everyday justice – ombuds, tribunals and mediation – rarely herald their role in human rights frameworks, and never very loudly. For the most part, human rights and administrative justice are ships that pass in the night. Drawing on design theory, the book proposes to remedy this alienation by replacing current orthodoxies, not least that of 'user focus', with more promising design principles of community, network and openness. Thus re-imagined, the future of both administrative justice and social rights is demosprudential, firmly rooted in making response to citizen grievance more democratic and embedding legal change in the broader culture.
Margaret Doyle is a Visiting Research Fellow with the UK Administrative Justice Institute, University of Essex, UK, and an independent mediator.
Nick O'Brien is an Honorary Research Fellow at Liverpool University, UK. He was formerly Legal Director of the Disability Rights Commission.