Administrative law is the branch of law and legal study dealing with the decisions of non-judicial tribunals and executive authorities.
In many cases, disputes between parties or the exercise of government authority (for example, issuing a permit or license) should be left to experts in the field rather than to the courts. Such procedures allow contentious issues of facts in technical matters to be dealt with by experts in the field rather than by judges who, although skilled in law, are deficient in other specialized knowledge.
However, specialized tribunals must not be allowed to abuse their authority and, in most cases, their decisions may be reviewed by a superior court in a process known as judicial review. The role of the court is different depending on the nature of the decision made by the administrative tribunal:
Reasonableness - Where the court is reviewing a decision within the expertise of the administrative body; or
Correctness - The standard where the decision is on another issue, such as the interpretation of law.
For example, if a person asks for judicial review of a building permit decision, the court will defer to the permit office on matters of building code compliance (which is within the permit office's expertise) and use a standard of reasonableness. However, if the dispute is over whether a certain structure needs a permit, the court may use a standard of correctness as this is a decision about the interpretation of the statute.