The duty to give reasons under Kenya’s Fair Administrative Action Act, 2015 in Kenya: Seven years later
Keywords:fair administrative action, public administration, Constitution of Kenya
Article 47 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 has constitutionalised the right to be given written reasons for administrative actions and decisions. The same has been set out in Sections 4 and 6 of the Fair Administrative Action Act 2015. Based on the amber light and public administration theories, this paper argues that the right to be given reasons for decisions taken by administrative authorities has not only been used as a tool to offer legal protection to individuals adversely affected by administrative action but also helps in enhancing good public administration in Kenya. On the one hand, courts of law have considered the right to be given written reasons both as a constitutional ground for judicial review of administrative action under Article 47 of the Constitution and as a remedy available in judicial review as stated in Section 11 of the Fair Administrative Action Act. It has provided affected individuals with a basis to challenge an administrative action and decision through a judicial review process that not only preserves but also develops and progresses relevant common law principles. On the other hand, courts of law have viewed the right to be given written reasons as a tool aimed at enhancing public administration by ensuring that public administrators reflect on the lawfulness, quality, rationality, and fairness of their actions. However, the objective of Section 6 of the Fair Administrative Action Act may not be fully achieved because it does not expressly require public ad-ministrators to give adequate reasons to persons whose rights have been adversely affected by administrative action. Besides, it does not provide the criterion to be used to determine when the departure from the requirement to provide reasons for administrative actions is reasonable and justifiable.
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