The court discussed why marginal notes are not to be used as an aid for stautory interpretation: ‘I am aware of the general rule of law as to marginal notes, at any rate in public general Acts of Parliament; but that rule is founded, as will be seen on reference to the cases, upon the … Continue reading In re Woking Urban District Council (Basingstoke Canal) Act 1911: CA 1914
Madden J explained the Act: ‘The Act of 1895 afforded a further protection to constituencies and to candidates. The mischief against which it was directed was an abuse of the right of free discussion by the dissemination among a constituency of false statements of fact, written or spoken, in relation to the personal character or … Continue reading The North Division of the County of Louth: 1911
The validity of certain United Kingdom legislation was challenged on the basis that it contravened provisions of the EEC Treaty by depriving the applicants of their Community rights to fish in European waters, and an interlocutory injunction was sought against the Secretary of State to restrain enforcement of that law pending a reference. The House … Continue reading Regina v Secretary of State for Transport, ex parte Factortame (No 2): HL 11 Oct 1990
(Rail and Canal Commissioners) The Sheffield District Railway agreed (in a contract appended to a special Act of Parliament, with the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway for the operation of a short line with two stations by means of which . .
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The applicant sought to challenge the 2004 Hunting Act, saying that it had been passed under the provisions of the 1949 Parliament Act which was itself an unlawful extension of the powers given by the 1911 Parliament Act to allow the House of Commons to bring into law an Act which had not been approved … Continue reading Jackson and others v Attorney General: HL 13 Oct 2005
The 2004 Act had been passed without the approval of the House of Lords and under the provisions of the 1911 Act as amended by the 1949 Act. The 1949 Act had used the provisions of the 1911 Act to amend the 1911 Act. The claimant said this meant . .
The applicant asserted that the 2004 Act was invalid having been passed under the procedure in the 1949 Act, reducing the period by which the House of Lords could delay legislation; the 1949 Act was invalid, being delegated legislation, had used the . .
The defendant worked as a shop assistant. He had persuaded the manager to accept in payment for goods, two cheques which he knew to be stolen. The CA had decided that since the ownership of the goods was transferred on the sale, no appropriation of property belonging to another had taken place. Held: An appropriation … Continue reading Director of Public Prosecutions v Gomez: HL 3 Dec 1992
A right to pasture animals on a common had been levant and couchant, and as such was inalienable as a separate asset from the land where the animals were kept. The right was registered under the Act, and was thereby transformed into a right to graze a certain number of animals on the common. That … Continue reading Bettison and others v Langton and others: HL 17 May 2001
The Board declared firmly that the earlier decisions had put an end to the doctrine that a colonial legislature is a delegate of the Imperial legislature. Citations: (1885) 10 App Cas 282 Cited by: Cited – Jackson and others v Attorney General HL 13-Oct-2005 The applicant sought to challenge the 2004 Hunting Act, saying that … Continue reading Powell v Apollo Candle Co Ltd: PC 1885
(Committee of Privileges of the House of Lords) Viscountess Rhondda asserted a right to sit in the House of Lords as a member, relying on the 1919 Act. Held: It is incorrect for a court to draw conclusions from such elements of the Parliamentary history of the legislation as the proposal and rejection of amendments. … Continue reading Viscountess Rhondda’s Claim: HL 1922
A case was brought to challenge legislation which introduced the community charge in Scotland before it was introduced in England. Held: The First Division of the Court of Session reserved its position on the effect of the Treaty of Union. Citations: 1991 SLT 330 Cited by: Cited – Jackson and others v Attorney General HL … Continue reading Pringle, Petitioner: 1991
The court asked about the history of the assignability of a copyright reversion: ‘The Act of 1911 was repealed by the Copyright Act 1956; and the Act of 1956 contains no provision comparable to the proviso to section 5(2) of the Act of 1911. However by virtue of section 50 and paragraph 28 of the … Continue reading Redwood Music Ltd v Francis, Day and Hunter: 1978
(High Court of Australia) An Act was proposed to be introduced by the legislature to amend the constitution of New South Wales by abolishing the Legislative Council. There would be required first a vote in favour of that in a referendum. The proposed Act was to be passed under a procedure in s.5B of the … Continue reading Clayton v Heffron: 15 Dec 1960
(High Court of Australia) The 1908 Act provided that, when a bill passed by the Legislative Assembly in two successive sessions had in the same two sessions been rejected by the Legislative Council, it might be submitted by referendum to the electors, and, if affirmed by them, should be presented to the Governor for His … Continue reading Taylor v Attorney General of Queensland: 29 Jun 1917
Administrative Discretion to be Used Reasonably The applicant challenged the manner of decision making as to the conditions which had been attached to its licence to open the cinema on Sundays. It had not been allowed to admit children under 15 years of age. The statute provided no appeal procedure, and the applicant sought a … Continue reading Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation: CA 10 Nov 1947
‘legislative antecedents’ may in some circumstances constitute relevant background for the interpretation of statutes in pari materia. Words in a preamble cannot of themselves restrict the scope of enacting words, where the latter are wider or more general than the former: ‘But where it is in the preamble that the reason for restriction is to … Continue reading Attorney-General v Prince Earnest Augustus of Hanover: HL 1957
A court is not prevented from interpreting the common law by an Act of parliament being based upon a different view. Citations:  AC 401 Jurisdiction: England and Wales Cited by: Cited – West Midland Baptist (Trust) Association (Inc) v Birmingham Corporation HL 1970 The mere fact that an enactment shows that Parliament must have … Continue reading Inland Revenue Commissioners v Dowdall, O’Mahoney and Co Ltd: HL 1952
The respondent appealed against a finding that the provision which made a loan agreement completely invalid for lack of compliance with the 1974 Act was itself invalid under the Human Rights Act since it deprived the respondent lender of its property rights. It was also argued that it was not possible to make a declaration … Continue reading Wilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2): HL 10 Jul 2003
The claimant appealed after her claim for sex discrimination had failed. She had been dismissed from her position an associate minister of the church. The court had found that it had no jurisdiction, saying that her appointment was not an employment. However the jurisdiction in sex discrimination cases was wider, extending to those who ‘contract … Continue reading Percy v Church of Scotland Board of National Mission: HL 15 Dec 2005
(St. Christopher and Nevis) The government of Canada requested the extradition of the respondent. The Attorney General sought special leave to appeal against the order for his discharge from custody, which had been on the grounds of the prejudice through long delay. The Board was concerned as to its jurisdiction. Held: No appeal lay against … Continue reading The Attorney General for St Christopher and Nevis v Rodionov: PC 20 Jul 2004
Reference to Parliamentary Papers behind Statute The inspector sought to tax the benefits in kind received by teachers at a private school in having their children educated at the school for free. Having agreed this was a taxable emolument, it was argued as to whether the taxable benefit was the cost to the employer, or … Continue reading Pepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart: HL 26 Nov 1992
Standing to Claim under A1P1 ECHR The appellants had written employers’ liability insurance policies. They appealed against rejection of their challenge to the 2009 Act which provided that asymptomatic pleural plaques, pleural thickening and asbestosis should constitute actionable harm for the purposes of an action of damages for personal injury. Held: The insurers’ appeals failed. … Continue reading AXA General Insurance Ltd and Others v Lord Advocate and Others: SC 12 Oct 2011
Wives had charged the family homes to secure their husband’s business borrowings, and now resisted possession orders, claiming undue influence. Held: Undue influence is an equitable protection created to undo the effect of excess influence of one person over the will of another, though it should not always be presumed to arise from the existence … Continue reading Royal Bank of Scotland v Etridge (No 2); Barclays Bank plc v Harris; Midland Bank plc v Wallace, etc: HL 11 Oct 2001
The question of whether notice of certain facts amounted to constructive notice of other facts is a question of law. Where it was claimed that a party should be exempt from liability under a document which it was claimed was signed because of misrepresentations and undue influence by a third party, the burden of proof … Continue reading Barclays Bank Plc v Boulter and Another: HL 26 Oct 1999
The Board was asked whether a Queensland statute authorising the Governor in Council to appoint a judge of the Court of Industrial Arbitration to hold office for seven years, was in fatal conflict with a provision of the 1859 Order in Council and a section of the Constitution Act 1867. Held: It was not, since … Continue reading McCawley v The King: PC 8 Mar 1920
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without undertakings from the journalists not to publish any element of the interview. … Continue reading Regina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms: HL 8 Jul 1999
The Attorney General appealed against a decision for the release under the Act and Regulations of letters from HRH The Prince of Wales to various ministers and government departments. Held: The appeal failed (Majority). The A-G had not been free to rely upon section 53 to issue a certificate avoiding the requirement to disclose the … Continue reading Evans and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Attorney General: SC 26 Mar 2015
Article 50 Notice Requires Parliament’s Authority The applicant challenged a decision by the respondent that he could use Crown prerogative powers to issue a notice under section 50 TUE to initiate the United Kingdom leaving the EU following the referendum under the 2015 Act. Held: Once the notice had been given, it was irrevocable. Consultation … Continue reading Miller and Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and Others: QBD 13 Nov 2016
The inspector issued a notice requiring production of certain documents. The respondents refused to produce them, saying that they were protected by legal professional privilege. Held: Legal professional privilege is a fundamental part of ensuring human rights as a right of privacy, and is recognised in European law (A M and S Europe Ltd). A … Continue reading Regina v Special Commissioner And Another, ex parte Morgan Grenfell and Co Ltd: HL 16 May 2002
The Home Secretary may not later extend the tariff for a lifer, after it had been set by an earlier Home Secretary, merely to satisfy needs of retribution and deterrence: ‘A power conferred by Parliament in general terms is not to be taken to authorise the doing of acts by the donee of the power … Continue reading Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex Parte Pierson: HL 24 Jul 1997
The patient saw his doctor and complained about a lump under his arm. The doctor failed to diagnose cancer. It was nine months before treatment was begun. The claimant sought damages for the reduction in his prospects of disease-free survival for ten years from 42%, when he first consulted the doctor to 25%. The House … Continue reading Gregg v Scott: HL 27 Jan 2005
The House considered the construction of a consolidation Act. Held: It is ordinarily both unnecessary and undesirable to construe a consolidation Act by reference to statutory antecedents, but it is permissible to do so in a case where the consolidation Act is unclear, or cannot be resolved by classical methods of construction. Self-contained statutes, whether … Continue reading Farrell v Alexander: HL 24 Jun 1976
Powergen sold a property to Edison. Powergen had paid rates under a separate statutory rating regime, and paid an additional thirteen million pounds under an apportionment. Edison later complained that in being rated itself, the authorities had collected rates twice for the same property. It challenged the legality of the order under which the rates … Continue reading Regina v Central Valuation Officer and another ex parte Edison First Power Limited: HL 10 Apr 2003
S.29 of the Ceylon (Constitution) Order in Council 1946 gave the Ceylon Parliament power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the island. S.29(4) gave it the power to ‘amend or repeal any of the provisions of this Order’; but provided that no Bill for amendment or repeal should be presented … Continue reading The Bribery Commissioner v Ranasinghe: PC 5 May 1964
Identifying ‘maandatory’ and ‘regulatory’ The appellants had sought a Certificate of Alternative Development. The certificate provided was defective in that it did not notify the appellants, as required, of their right to appeal. Their appeal out of time was refused. Held: The House considered the consequences of a failure to comply with a procedural requirement, … Continue reading London and Clydeside Estates v Aberdeen District Council: HL 8 Nov 1979
The claimant had supported the grant of a visa to a woman in order to speak to members of Parliament who was de facto leader of an Iranian organsation which had in the past supported terrorism and had been proscribed in the UK, but that proscription had been cancelled by the Tribunal. Lord Carlile appealed … Continue reading Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department: SC 12 Nov 2014
(Southern Rhodesia) The Board considered a submission that legal effect should be given to a convention that the UK Parliament would not legislate without the consent of the government of Southern Rhodesia on matters within the competence of the Legislative Assembly. Held: It was a very important convention but it had no legal effect in … Continue reading Madzimbamuto v Lardner-Burke: PC 23 Jul 1968
The appellants owned land through which flowed the river Derwent. Attempts were to be made to restore the river to navigability. The appellants denied that any public rights existed over the river. Held: The 1932 Act could only give rise to a right of way over a feature of the land; this could not include … Continue reading Attorney-General (ex relatione Yorkshire Derwent Trust Ltd) v Brotherton: HL 5 Dec 1991
The defendants appealed from conviction for offences under the 1911 Act. They were supporters of an organisation seeking to prevent nuclear war, and entered an Air Force base attempting to obtain information they would later publish. They pursued a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience. The judge had refused to allow cross examination and evidence concerning … Continue reading Chandler (TN) v Director of Public Prosecutions: HL 12 Jul 1962
The mere fact that an enactment shows that Parliament must have thought that the law was one thing, does not preclude the courts from deciding that the law was in fact something different. The position would be different if the provisions of the enactment were such that they would only be workable if the law … Continue reading West Midland Baptist (Trust) Association (Inc) v Birmingham Corporation: HL 1970
Court of Appeal’s powers limited to those Given The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal is wholly statutory; it is appellate only. The court has no original jurisdiction. It has no jurisdiction itself to entertain any original application for judicial review; it has appellate jurisdiction over judgments and orders of the High Court made by … Continue reading In re Racal Communications Ltd; In Re a Company: HL 3 Jul 1980
The petitioner said that in the course of the election campaign, the respondent Labour candidate had used illegal practices in the form of deliberately misleading and racially inflammatory material. Held: The claim succeeded, and the election result was set aside. The defendant had made several untrue statements relating to the character of the petitioner, fully … Continue reading Watkins v Woolas: QBD 5 Nov 2010
Fairness on Division of Family Capital The House faced the question of how to achieve fairness in the division of property following a divorce. In the one case there were substantial assets but a short marriage, and in the other a high income, but low capital. Held: The 1973 Act gives only limited guidance on … Continue reading Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane: HL 24 May 2006
Presumption in Favour of Open Proceedings There had been an unauthorised dissemination by the petitioner to third parties of the official shorthand writer’s notes of a nullity suit which had been heard in camera. An application was made for a committal for contempt. Held: The House equated the contempt to a breach of an injunction … Continue reading Scott v Scott: HL 5 May 1913
Courts Not to Investigate Parliament’s Actions It was alleged that the respondent had misled Parliament to secure the passing of a private Act. The claimant said that the land taken from him under the Act was no longer required, and that he should be entitled to have it returned. Held: When an enactment is passed … Continue reading Pickin v British Railways Board: HL 30 Jan 1974
The defendant operated a web-site providing a search facility of the Usenet news system which allowed its users to locate copies of films online for downloading. The claimant said this was an infringement of its copyrights. Held: The defendant had infringed the copyright of the claimants. Though its terms denied that its editors should promote … Continue reading Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Another v Newzbin Ltd: ChD 29 Mar 2010
How much new material for new copyright (Hong Kong) Toy building bricks were manufactured by Lego in accordance with engineering drawings made for that purpose. One issue was whether new drawings made since 1972, altering the original drawings in various minor respects but added new information addressed to the purchaser in the form of written … Continue reading Interlego AG v Tyco Industries Inc: PC 5 May 1988
Prorogation request was non-justiciable The claimant sought to challenge the prorogation of Parliament by the Queen at the request of the respondent. Held: The claim failed: ‘the decision of the Prime Minister to advise Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament is not justiciable in Her Majesty’s courts.’‘The Prime Minister’s decision that Parliament should be … Continue reading Miller, Regina (On the Application Of) v The Prime Minister: QBD 11 Sep 2019
The defendant appealed against his convictions for sexual assaults. He was aged twelve at the time of the offences, but had been prevented from arguing that he had not known that what he was doing was wrong. The House was asked whether the effect of the 1998 Act was to abolish the entire doctrine of … Continue reading JTB, Regina v: HL 29 Apr 2009
An attempt to determine the meaning of an enactment should not cross the boundary between construction and legislation: ‘My Lords, I am not reluctant to adopt a purposive construction where to apply the literal meaning of the legislative language used would lead to results which would clearly defeat the purposes of the Act. But in … Continue reading Jones v Wrotham Park Settled Estates: HL 1979
The section in the 1985 Act created a power to prevent rent increases for tenancies of dwelling-houses for purposes including the alleviation of perceived hardship. Accordingly the Secretary of State could issue regulations whose effect was to limit the maximum amount of rent in the proper exercise of that discretionary power. The Act as a … Continue reading Regina v Secretary of State for the Environment Transport and the Regions and another, ex parte Spath Holme Limited: HL 7 Dec 2000
Parliamentary Roll is Conclusive A document on the Parliamentary Roll is conclusive as to its validity as an Act if it shows on its face that everything has been done which the common law of the United Kingdom has prescribed for the making of an Act of Parliament – that the Queen, the Lords and … Continue reading The Prince’s Case: ChD 11 Jan 1606
Restitutionary Claim against Pofits from Breach The author had written his book in breach of his duty of confidence. Having signed the Official Secrets Act, he accepted a contractual private law duty. After conviction as a spy, the publication of the book was in breach of the undertaking by not first seeking authority to publish. … Continue reading HM Attorney General v Blake (Jonathan Cape Ltd third Party intervening): HL 3 Aug 2000
The Chagos Islands had been a British dependent territory since 1814. The British government repatriated the islanders in the 1960s, and the Ilois now sought damages for their wrongful displacement, misfeasance, deceit, negligence and to establish a . .
The company had, under authority of a private statute, built a railway which passed across land belonging to the defendant. They were to pay a sum for the goods carried. At first they sought to collect a toll, but his proved unprofitable. The . .
A wall plaque was published before 1950. Its design was an original artistic work but was produced for the purpose of reproduction by an industrial process. It was not registered as an industrial design under the applicable designs legislation . .
(South Africa) A provision entrenched the right of Cape Coloured voters to be on the same voters roll as white voters. The entrenchment was achieved by sections 63 and the proviso to section 152 of the South Africa Act providing that the voting . .
The claimant had been a passenger in a car driven by his now partner. They had an accident in New South Wales. The car was insured in Australia. He sought leave to sue in England and Wales because Australian law would limit the damages.
Held: . .
Lord Ross held that a statement made during the course of an election campaign, which suggested that the pursuer (a member of parliament) did not collect his constituency mail from the House of Commons Post office was an attack on his character as a . .
The claimant rights holders sought an order to require the defendant broadband internet provider to deny access to its users to websites which were said to facilitate the distribution of infringing copies of their films. An earlier judgment had . .
The defendants appealed their convictions for being members of proscribed organisations. They were members of the ‘Real IRA’, but only the IRA was actually proscribed.
Held: The appeals failed. In construing an Act of Parliament it may be of . .
There is a wide common sense principle of the construction of statutes by which courts will imply qualifications into the literal meaning of wide and general words in order to prevent them from having some unreasonable consequence which it is . .
As regards a Bill in Parliament, the pronouncement of the words enacting it ‘carry its death’s wound in itself.’ . .
Austlii (High Court of Australia) Constitutional Law (Cth) – Inconsistency between Commonwealth and State laws – Compensation of seamen – Laws expressly contemplating coexistence of laws – Whether Commonwealth . .
The claimant had been found guilty of the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of the deceased. He now sought disapplication of the 1982 Act.
Held: The application failed: ‘The reforms introduced by the Homicide Act 1957 were designed to . .
The parties had married, but the male partner was a transsexual, having been born female and having undergone treatment for Gender Identity Dysphoria. After IVF treatment, the couple had a child. As the marriage broke down the truth was revealed in . .
The Act required the occupier of a licensed racetrack to take all steps necessary to secure that, so long as a totalisator was being lawfully operated on the track, there was available for bookmakers space on the track where they could conveniently . .
Lord Keith reserved his opinion on whether provisions in the Acts of Union of 1707 and legislation purporting to abolish the Church of Scotland were justiciable: ‘The making of decisions upon what must essentially be a political matter is no part of . .
The parties disputed the excessive use of a right of way by the defendant’s tenants. The claimant appealed against rejection of its claim of trespass. . .
The defendants faced charges under the two Acts. They raised as a preliminary issue whether it is necessary for the Crown to prove that the property being converted was in fact the proceeds, in the case of the 1994 Act, of drug trafficking and, in . .
The defendant had been placed on the sex offenders’ register on conviction for fraudulent evasion of prohibitions on importing goods, by importing indecent photographs of children. He had maintained that he had not known of the exact nature of the . .
The court considered whether the District Judge had been correct to refuse to issue summonses for private prosecutions where there was a suggestion that only a private dispute at stake.
Held: It ‘never was any requirement that a private . .
A ship had foundered, and the owners disputed their insurance claim. The policy provided for arbitration in London, and one party sought an order to prevent the other commencing proceedings in another EU state in breach of the arbitration agreement. . .
The defendant had had responsibility to investigate and if necessary prosecute a company suspected of serious offences of bribery and corruption in the conduct of contract negotiations. The investigation had been stopped, alledgedly at the . .
The Board was asked whether Act No. XXII of 1869 of the Indian Legislature was inconsistent with the Indian High Courts Act (24 and 25 Vict. c. 104) or with the Charter of the High Court, or whether it was within the legislative power of the . .
Claim of set-off . .
The defendants had been convicted of animal welfare offences, and banned from keeping animals. The claimant sought to enter the premises to remove animals, but were denied entry.
Held: The court had no power to make an order to allow access . .
A seaman was injured taking part in a safety drill aboard ship. The defendant had been found not to be negligent, but the claimant alleged breach of statutory duty under the Regulations.
Held: Groves v Wimborne clearly established that . .
Various shopkeepers appealed convictions for breach of regulations requiring food sold by weight to be described in metric amounts. They claimed that the Regulations made under the 1985 Act, to the extent that they were inconsistent with it . .
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
The Board was asked whether a Queensland statute authorising the Governor in Council to appoint a judge of the Court of Industrial Arbitration to hold office for seven years, was in fatal conflict with a provision of the 1859 Order in Council and a . .
References: (1783) 3 Dougl 246,  EngR 109, (1783) 3 Doug 245, (1783) 99 ER 636 Links: Commonlii Coram: Mansfield L, Butler, Willes, Ashurst, JJ Ratio: An insurance otlice having paid the assured the amount of the loss sustained by him in consequence of a demolishing by rioters, sued the hundredors under the stat. I … Continue reading London Assurance Company v Sainsbury: 28 Jun 1783
(High Court of Australia) An Act was proposed to be introduced by the legislature to amend the constitution of New South Wales by abolishing the Legislative Council. There would be required first a vote in favour of that in a referendum. The . .
References: (1917) 23 CLR 457,  HCA 31 Links: Austlii Coram: Barton J, Isaacs, Gavan Duffy, Rich and Powers JJ Ratio: (High Court of Australia) The 1908 Act provided that, when a bill passed by the Legislative Assembly in two successive sessions had in the same two sessions been rejected by the Legislative Council, it … Continue reading Taylor v Attorney General of Queensland; 29 Jun 1917
References: (1782) 3 Dougl 61,  EngR 37, (1782) 3 Doug 61, (1782) 99 ER 538 Links: Commonlii Coram: Lord Mansfield CJ, Buller J A claim was made upon insurance after a riot. The court asked asked ‘Who is first liable?’ This was not an issue of chronology but of establishing where the primary responsibility … Continue reading Mason v Sainsbury; 19 Apr 1782
References: (1960) 105 CLR 214 Links: Austilii Coram: Dixon CJ, McTiernan, Fullagar, Kitto, Taylor, Menzies and Windeyer JJ (High Court of Australia) An Act was proposed to be introduced by the legislature to amend the constitution of New South Wales by abolishing the Legislative Council. There would be required first a vote in favour of … Continue reading Clayton v Heffron; 17 Oct 1960