The appeal of internal review: law, administrative justice, and the (non-) emergence of disputes

Simon Halliday, David Cowan

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Why do most welfare applicants fail to challenge adverse decisions despite a continuing sense of need? This book addresses this severely under-researched and under-theorised question. Using English homelessness law as their case study, the authors explore why homeless applicants did - but more often did not - challenge adverse decisions by seeking internal administrative review. They draw out from their data a list of the barriers to the take up of grievance rights. Further, by combining extensive interview data from aggrieved homeless applicants with ethnographic data about bureaucratic decision-making, they are able to situate these barriers within the dynamics of the citizen-bureaucracy relationship. Additionally, they point to other contexts which inform applicants' decisions about whether to request an internal review. Drawing on a diverse literature - risk, trust, audit, legal consciousness, and complaints - the authors lay the foundations for our understanding of the (non-)emergence of administrative disputes.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford and Portland, Oregon
Number of pages220
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2003


  • welfare applicants
  • homelessness
  • internal administrative review
  • decision making
  • administrative disputes


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