Substantive legitimate expectations in South African and European administrative law

Quinot, Geo (2004-01)

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The doctrine of substantive legitimate expectation is only starting to find its way into South African law at present. The courts have suggested that a careful analysis of the development of the doctrine in English law is required before it can be accepted in South African law. While this is certainly important seeing that the doctrine of legitimate expectation was originally taken from English law into South African law, the comparative analysis should not be restricted to English law. In English law the substantive legitimate expectation doctrine is all but settled and while the development of the doctrine in that jurisdiction has preceded South African law for a considerable period of time, many uncertainties regarding the doctrine still remain in English law. In contrast, substantive protection of legitimate expectations is well established in EU law. It will therefore be foolish not to pay close attention to EU law in this regard. Any comparative analysis clearly shows that EU law holds some very important lessons for the development of substantive legitimate expectations in South African law.

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