Chief Constable of the North Wales Police -v- Evans; HL 1982

References: [1982] 1 WLR 1155, (1982) 3 All ER 141, [1982] UKHL 10
Links: Bailii
Coram: Lord Brightman
The Court found the probationer police constable to have been unlawfully induced to resign, but the court could not order his reinstatement. A power must be exercised by the precise person or body stated in the statute. Though courts may review the way in which decisions are reached, they will respect the margin of appreciation or discretion which a Chief Constable has. He knows through his officers the local situation, the availability of officers and his financial resources, and the other demands on the police in the area at different times. The House granted instead a declaration: ‘affirming that, by reason of his unlawfully induced resignation, he had thereby become entitled to the same rights and remedies, not including reinstatement, as he would have had if the chief constable had not unlawfully dispensed with his services under regulation 16(1).’
‘My Lords I must address myself later to the question of remedy. All that I would say at this moment is that it would, to my mind, be regrettable if a litigant who establishes that he has been legally wronged, and particularly in so important a matter as a pursuit of his chosen profession, has to be sent away from a court of justice empty handed save for an order for the recoupment of the expense to which he has been put in establishing a barren victory.’ and ‘An unsuccessful applicant whose challenge has nevertheless performed a public service may escape the usual costs burden.’
Lord Brightman: ‘Judicial review is concerned, not with the decision, but with the decision-making process. Unless that restriction on the power of the court is observed, the court will in my view, under the guise of preventing the abuse of power, be itself guilty of usurping power…. Judicial review, as the words imply, is not an appeal from a decision, but a review of the manner in which the decision was made.’
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Last Update: 03-Nov-15 Ref: 192007

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