The dismissal of a Scottish Sheriff ‘for inability’ is not limited in meaning to either mental or physical infirmity, but can also include simple incompetence. The fact that the inquiry into the sherriff’s unfitness was conducted in private was not unfair. Judges: Lord Lloyd of Berwick, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Steyn, Lord Hutton, Lord … Continue reading Stewart v Secretary of State for Scotland (Scotland): HL 22 Jan 1998
(Jamaica) The defendant was convicted of two murders from the same incident. The Act provided for the death penalty if he was convicted of a second murder. He appealed the death sentence in the circumstances, and said also that it was unconstitutional, being inhuman treatment. Held: The imposition of the mandatory death sentence on the … Continue reading Watson v Regina: PC 7 Jul 2004
The Gun Court Act 1974 of Jamaica established special courts at different levels to deal with varieties of crimes involving guns. There was provision for hearings to be held in camera. Certain offences carried mandatory life sentences reviewable only by a panel appointed by the Governor-General. The appellants each appealed convictions by the courts complaining … Continue reading Hinds and other v The Queen; Director of Public Prosecutions v Jackson, attorney General of Jamaica (Intervenor): PC 1 Dec 1975
A petition was brought to request that a judgment of the House be set aside because the wife of one their lordships, Lord Hoffmann, was as an unpaid director of a subsidiary of Amnesty International which had in turn been involved in a campaign against the applicant, and as a party. Held: The House is … Continue reading Regina v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No 2): HL 15 Jan 1999
The appellant, a Palestinian, challenged the involvement of Lady Cosgrove as a judge in her case, saying that Lady Cosgrove’s involvement as a jew in pro-Jewish lobby organisations meant that there was an appearance of bias. The applicant had sought asylum, saying that she had fled Palestine after taking legal action against the president of … Continue reading Helow v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Another: HL 22 Oct 2008
The claimants alleged that a connection between a member of the Restrictive Practices Court, who was to hear a complaint and another company, disclosed bias against them. She had not recused herself. Held: When asking whether material circumstances in a case might give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias, the test was whether objectively … Continue reading In Re Medicaments and Related Classes of Goods (No 2); Director General of Fair Trading v Proprietary Association of Great Britain and Proprietary Articles Trade Association: CA 21 Dec 2000
(Belize) The applicant complained at his removal as a justice of the Supreme Court, stating it was unconstitutional. The complaint had been decided by a member of the Bar Council which had also recommended his removal, and he said it had been decided in private. Held: It was not suggested that the chairman had any … Continue reading Meerabux v The Attorney General of Belize: PC 23 Mar 2005
The House was asked whether a jury in criminal trials containing variously a Crown Prosecution Service solicitor, or a police officer would have the appearance of bias. In Abdroikof, the presence of the police officer on the jury was discovered only . .
(Belize) Challenge was made to an Act removing certain constititutional rights which Act was passed without a referendum. The Act amending the constitution to require further amendments to follow a referendum did not itself follow the constitutional . .
(Belize) The applicants sought an interim order preventing continuation of the building of a dam, saying that the environmental damage had not been properly aanticipated.
Held: The Board of the Council did have power to grant an interim . .
(Belize) The Criminal Code of Belize provided that any murder by shooting was to be treated as Class A Murder, and be subject to the mandatory death penalty. The applicant having been convicted, appealed saying this was inhuman or degrading treatment, and infringed his human rights under the constitution. Held: The crime of murder embraced … Continue reading Reyes v The Queen: PC 11 Mar 2002
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant challenged the automatic death sentence imposed upon him for murder. Held: There were conflicting constitutional provisions. Following Fisher, in the context of issues of capital sentences a wider view was required. The death penalty should no longer be read as mandatory. Legislation since 1976 meant that the court now had … Continue reading Balkissoon Roodal v The State: PC 20 Nov 2003
PC (Gibraltar) The system of selecting a criminal jury obliged men to be available for selection, but women could choose not to be on the role of jurors. The result was that jury lists and juries were almost entirely male. Held: (Majority) Since juries are chosen at random from jury lists, a non-discriminatory method of … Continue reading Pilar Aida Rojas v Brian Berllaque: PC 10 Nov 2003
(Gambia) A constitution, and in particular that part of it which protects and entrenches fundamental rights and freedoms to which all persons in the state are to be entitled, is to be given a generous and purposive construction. In the construction of statutory provisions which contravene human rights and freedoms there is a presumption of … Continue reading Attorney-General v Momodou Jobe: PC 26 Mar 1984
(Saint Lucia) Having been convicted of murder, the defendant was made subject to the mandatory death penalty applied under St Lucia law. He appealed successfully on the basis that the constitution of St Lucia protected him from inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment under article 5, and the Crown appealed to the Privy Council. Held: … Continue reading Regina v Hughes: PC 11 Mar 2002
The court modified the approach taken in earlier decisions, that there are excluded from the scope of article 6(1) disputes raised by public servants whose duties typify the specific activities of the public service in so far as the latter is acting as the depositary of public authority responsible for protecting the general interests of … Continue reading Pellegrin v France: ECHR 8 Dec 1999
PC (Grenada) The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder. He claimed a misdirection on provocation. Held: The judge’s direction had been over elaborate, and gave too much weight to the old law. The appeal was to be allowed. Judges: Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hutton Citations: … Continue reading Michael Yearwood v The Queen: PC 26 Jun 2001
It is a well recognised canon of construction that domestic legislation, including the Constitution, should if possible be construed so as to conform to international instruments to which the state is party. Lord Hoffmann said: ‘of course persons should be uniformly treated unless there is some valid reason to treat them differently . . The … Continue reading Matadeen and others v M G C Pointu and others (Mauritius): PC 18 Feb 1998
(Singapore) It was asked whether the mandatory death sentence for trafficking in more than 15 grammes of heroin was unconstitutional. The appellant submitted that the mandatory nature of the sentence rendered it arbitrary, since it debarred the court in punishing offenders from discriminating between them according to their individual blameworthiness. This was said to be … Continue reading Ong Ah Chuan v The Public Prosecutor: PC 1980
Power to call in is administrative in nature The powers of the Secretary of State to call in a planning application for his decision, and certain other planning powers, were essentially an administrative power, and not a judicial one, and therefore it was not a breach of the applicants’ rights to a fair hearing before … Continue reading Regina (Holding and Barnes plc) v Secretary of State for Environment Transport and the Regions; Regina (Alconbury Developments Ltd and Others) v Same and Others: HL 9 May 2001
The defendant had been convicted of robbery. He appealed, saying that a member of the jury was a neighbour to his brother, and there was therefore a risk of bias. This was of particular significance as the defendant was charged with conspiracy with that brother to commit burglaries. The juror had sworn an affidavit that … Continue reading Regina v Gough (Robert): HL 1993
Same Sex Partner Entitled to tenancy Succession The protected tenant had died. His same-sex partner sought a statutory inheritance of the tenancy. Held: His appeal succeeded. The Fitzpatrick case referred to the position before the 1998 Act: ‘Discriminatory law undermines the rule of law because it is the antithesis of fairness. It brings the law … Continue reading Ghaidan v Godin-Mendoza: HL 21 Jun 2004
(First Division, Inner House) The reclaimer challenged dismissal of her claim for review of the recent decision for the prorogation of the Parliament at Westminster. Held: Reclaim was granted. The absence of reasons allowed the court to infer that the reason for the prorogation was unlawful.‘It was the role of the courts to protect Parliament. … Continue reading Cherry, Reclaiming Motion By Joanna Cherry QC MP and Others v The Advocate General: SCS 11 Sep 2019
The claimant said that the medical member of the tribunal which had heard his disability claim was biased. The doctor was on a temporary contract and also worked for an agency which contracted directly the Benfits Agency. The court of session had considered tha a reasonable and well informed observer would not think there was … Continue reading Gillies v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: HL 26 Jan 2006
Councillors Liable for Unlawful Purposes Use The defendant local councillors were accused of having sold rather than let council houses in order to encourage an electorate which would be more likely to be supportive of their political party. They had been advised that the policy would be unlawful and leave the authority unable to meet … Continue reading Porter and Weeks v Magill: HL 13 Dec 2001
The Lord Chancellor, Lord Cottenham, owned a substantial shareholding in the defendant canal which was an incorporated body. He sat on appeal from the Vice-Chancellor, whose judgment in favour of the company he affirmed. There was an appeal on the grounds that the Lord Chancellor was disqualified. Held: After consultation, Lord Cottenham was disqualified from … Continue reading Dimes v Proprietors of Grand Junction Canal and others: HL 26 Jun 1852
marshall_dgPC10 (Bermuda) The claimants challenged their recruitment by conscription to the Bermuda Regiment on several different grounds. The issues now were whether conscription was lawful only where volunters were insufficient, and whether the acceptance of woment should be considered before conscription was applied. Held: The appeals failed. The Regiment did accept women volunteers. The statute … Continue reading Marshall and Others v Deputy Governor of Bermuda and Others: PC 24 May 2010
The claimant appealed against rejection of judicial review of a finding that she had effectively cheated at a professional examination for the Institute. She compained that the presence of a director and the council’s vice-president of the Institute . .
(Jamaica) A bill was presented to the Jamaican parliament to transfer the appellate jurisdiction from the Board of the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Held: Whilst there was a duty to recognise and respect alternate courts, . .
Counsel appearing at the tribunal had previously sat as a judge with a tribunal member. The opposing party asserted bias in the tribunal.
Held: The test in Gough should be restated in part so that the court must first ascertain all the . .
(St Christopher and Nevis) The appellant had been convicted of murder whilst still a youth. He had accordingly been sentenced to be detained ‘during [the Governor-General’s] pleasure; and if so sentenced he shall be liable to be detained in such . .
(Belize) The burden of proof on provocation in a murder case remained with the prosecution despite the constitution. The Belize Criminal Code imposed no more than an evidential burden on the accused: ‘In their Lordships’ view section 116(a) of the . .