Improving Democracy and Accountability Through Administrative Law in East Africa
Administrative law helps regulate the exercise of power. It also ensures that administrative decisions and actions are reasonable, carried out according to the law, follow fair procedures, and provide redress to those who are wrongly affected. This project will document and assess administrative law practices in several countries across East Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi. The research team will propose policy and legislative improvements to strengthen the culture and practice of democracy in these countries. They will identify opportunities and obstacles for public participation and accountability in specific administrative agencies and local government units. Their work will include a gender perspective. They will examine case studies to assess how power is exercised and how tax authorities, environmental regulation agencies, and local governments make administrative decisions. This research is important because it will address the lack of mechanisms for citizens to participate in governance. Accountability among decision-makers in these countries is often absent as well. The lack of information on how administrative agencies exercise their power, including what standards are applied, has resulted in a tremendous knowledge gap in East Africa. This project will fill that gap by: - building the knowledge base with a reference book on administrative law in East Africa that will help shape law curricula regionally; and, - using this knowledge base to engage with policymakers and administrative agencies to help promote policy and practices that respect and enhance the legitimacy and accountability of public authorities. More specifically, the project will: - generate new knowledge on rule-making and adjudication practices in East Africa, including how administrative agencies make rules and adjudicate disputes, the extent to which their practices adhere to the principles of administrative law, the nature and forms of public participation in agency rule-making processes, and the impact of judicial review on public administration; - develop pedagogical tools to help improve the ability of lawyers and public administrators to apply administrative law principles; and, - suggest policy and legislative interventions to help mainstream administrative law principles in public agencies.