Attorney-General v Able and Others: QBD 28 Apr 1983

The Attorney General sought a declaration as to whether it would be the crime of aiding and abetting or counselling and procuring suicide, to distribute a booklet published by the respondent which described various effective ways of committing suicide. The stated aim of the booklet was to help readers overcome the fear of dying.
Held: The offence would be committed only in the particular circumstances of the booklet being supplied to a particular individual considering suicide and with the intent of assisting or encouraging him. The offence was not committed by the general distribution of the booklet. However the court should also be reluctant to make declarations in advance as to the legality or otherwise of particular acts. That risked usurping the function of the court which considered a particular set of circumstances.


Woolf LJ


[1983] 3 WLR 845, [1984] 1 QB 795, [1984] 1 All ER 277




Suicide Act 1961 2(1)


CitedImperial Tobacco Ltd v Attorney-General HL 1980
The applicant sought a declaration as to the lawfulness of a lottery scheme whilst criminal proceedings were pending against it for the same scheme.
Held: It was not necessary to decide whether a declaration as to the criminality or otherwise . .
CitedAttorney-General v Bastow 1957
The case involved an attempt by a local authority to enforce planning control by a relator action requiring the removal of caravans on land in breach of planning control. The use of the service of stop notices, are supported by the power of the . .
CitedGouriet v Union of Post Office Workers HL 26-Jul-1977
The claimant sought an injunction to prevent the respondent Trades Union calling on its members to boycott mail to South Africa. The respondents challenged the ability of the court to make such an order.
Held: The wide wording of the statute . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Her Majesty’s Attorney General ex parte Rusbridger and Another HL 26-Jun-2003
Limit to Declaratory Refilef as to Future Acts
The applicant newspaper editor wanted to campaign for a republican government. Articles were published, and he sought confirmation that he would not be prosecuted under the Act, in the light of the 1998 Act.
Held: Declaratory relief as to the . .
CitedI-CD Publishing Ltd v The Secretary of State, The Information Commissioner (Interested Party) Admn 21-Jul-2003
The claimant sought judicial review challenging the restrictions on the sale of electoral registers to registered credit reference agencies. Following Robertson (1) the new regulations created two registers, and the claimant sought to be able to . .
CitedRusbridger and Another v Attorney General CA 20-Mar-2002
The paper wanted to publish an article about the monarchy but was concerened that it might lead to it being prosecuted under the 1848 Act. The complainant sought declarations as to the incompatibility of the 1848 Act with the 1998 Act.
Held: . .
CitedPhonographic Performance Limited v Department of Trade and Industry HM Attorney General ChD 23-Jul-2004
The claimant represented the interests of copyright holders, and complained that the defendant had failed to implement the Directive properly, leaving them unable properly to collect royalties in the music rental market. The respondent argued that . .
CitedBowman v Fels (Bar Council and Others intervening) CA 8-Mar-2005
The parties had lived together in a house owned in the defendant’s name and in which she claimed an interest. The claimant’s solicitors notified NCIS that they thought the defendant had acted illegally in setting off against his VAT liability the . .
CitedRegina v RL and JF CACD 28-Aug-2008
Club, not members, prosecutable for breach
The Environment Agency appealed against dismissal of charges against the defendants who were officers in an unincorporated members’ golf club on whose land there had been pollution. The judge had ruled that the unincorporated association could have . .
CitedJogee and Ruddock (Jamaica) v The Queen SC 18-Feb-2016
Joint Enterprise Murder
(and in Privy Council) The two defendants appealed against their convictions (one in Jamaica) for murder, under the law of joint enterprise. Each had been an accessory when their accomplice killed a victim with a knife. The judge in Jogee had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Administrative, Criminal Practice, Media

Updated: 12 May 2022; Ref: scu.174704