The Nature of Public Law Duties Elaborated
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Ascribing purposes to public authorities is part of the work of the courts in their public law jurisdiction. The body of law that governs the behaviour of any given statutory authority is an amalgam of statute law and non-statutory general principles of public law devised by the courts. One possible starting point is the reference in the Council of Europe's formulation to a failure of a public authority to conduct itself in a way which can reasonably be expected from it in law in relation to the injured person. The position of a public authority whose actions threaten potential harm is much more like that of a private person performing some potentially harmful activity. Hybrid public authorities, as we saw above, are not obliged at all times to act so as to attain their public purposes.