Principles for Remedy

Acting fairly

Remedies should be fair, reasonable and proportionate to the injustice or hardship suffered.

The public body should consider how the circumstances of the case have affected the complainant in all ways. Even if an offer of remedy is not legally required, the public body should consider whether it has acted fairly and how its decisions have affected:

  • the complainant
  • where appropriate, others who have suffered injustice or hardship as a result of the same maladministration or poor service.

When considering a remedy, it is reasonable for a public body to take into account any way in which the complainant has contributed to, or prolonged, the injustice or hardship.

Each case must be considered on its own merits. Any guidance or procedure that public bodies use to decide remedies should be flexible enough to enable the public body to consider fully:

  • the individual circumstances
  • the need to provide an appropriate remedy for the injustice or hardship sustained.

At the same time, people should be treated consistently. Decisions on remedies should take proper account of previous decisions made on similar facts. Any difference in remedies between similar cases should be justified by the objective features or the individual circumstances of the case.

If applying the law, regulations or procedures strictly would lead to an unfair remedy for an individual, the public body should seek to address the unfairness. In doing so, public bodies must, of course, bear in mind the proper protection of public funds and ensure they do not exceed their legal powers.