This paper deals with the growing prevalence of economic evidence in judicial review proceedings in Australian courts. It examines the limitations imposed upon the admissibility of such evidence through the rules of evidence, at common law and the uniform Evidence Act, and the nature of judicial review actions. In considering two recent Federal Court cases where economic evidence was an integral component of the judicial review action, this paper suggests that despite the intricate rules now imposed upon the admissibility of expert opinion evidence, the main obstacle to the admissibility of expert economic evidence in judicial review actions is the incompatibility of determinative economic perspectives and the need for the court to refrain from merits review. Thus it would seem that the introduction of technical economic evidence in a judicial review proceeding runs a dual risk of being inadmissible for either not furnishing with sufficient clarity the foundations of the expert opinion proffered, or if the expert opinion is perceived as being too conclusive in its assertions it may also be inadmissible as going to the merits of the original decision the legality of which is the sole concern of the court reviewing the decision. Should the correct balance be found, expert economic opinion evidence is admissible in judicial review actions.
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