Belfast City Council v Miss Behavin’ Ltd: HL 25 Apr 2007

Belfast had failed to license sex shops. The company sought review of the decision not to grant a licence.
Held: The council’s appeal succeeded. The refusal was not a denial of the company’s human rights: ‘If article 10 and article 1 of Protocol 1 are engaged at all, they operate at a very low level. The right to vend pornography is not the most important right of free expression in a democratic society and the licensing system does not prohibit anyone from exercising it. It only prevents him from using unlicensed premises for that purpose.’ The council was entitled to take into account late objections when deciding on the licence, but a court is likely to treat with greater respect a justification for a policy which was carefully thought through by reference to the relevant principles at the time when it was adopted.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury said: ‘If an objection which revealed to a council for the first time certain highly relevant information was received one day late, it would be a little short of absurd if it could not be taken into account. It might reveal, for instance, that a family with a large number of small children had moved into the flat above the subject property, or that the applicant had a string of relevant convictions. In such cases, it would be contrary to the purpose of the 1985 Order, and to the public interest generally, if the council was obliged to ignore the information. Furthermore, it would be the duty of council officers to open and read any letter received; such an officer would be placed in an impossible situation if she or he had read a late letter of objection, with new and important information, but was effectively precluded from communicating this information to Council members.’
Baroness Hale explained that: ‘The role of the court in human rights adjudication is quite different from the role of the court in an ordinary judicial review of administrative action. In human rights adjudication, the court is concerned with whether the human rights of the claimant have in fact been infringed, not with whether the administrative decision-maker properly took them into account.’

Lord Hoffmann, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Mance, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
[2007] 1 WLR 1420, [2007] UKHL 19, Times 01-May-2007, [2007] 3 All ER 1007
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 No 1208 (NI 15), European Convention on Human Rights 10
Northern Ireland
CitedQuietlynn Ltd v Plymouth City Council QBD 1987
A company operated sex shops in Plymouth under transitional provisions which allowed them to do so until their application for a licence under the scheme introduced by the Act had been ‘determined.’ The local authority refused the application. The . .
At first instanceMisbehavin’ Ltd, Re Application for Judicial Review QBNI 24-Sep-2004
. .
CitedBegum (otherwise SB), Regina (on the Application of) v Denbigh High School HL 22-Mar-2006
The student, a Muslim wished to wear a full Islamic dress, the jilbab, but this was not consistent with the school’s uniform policy. She complained that this interfered with her right to express her religion.
Held: The school’s appeal . .
Appeal fromMisbehavin’ Ltd, Re an Application for Judicial Review CANI 15-Sep-2005
Appeal from a decision dismissing the appellant’s application for judicial review of Belfast City Council’s refusal to grant the appellant’s application for a sex establishment licence in respect of premises at Gresham Street, Belfast. . .
CitedUK Waste Management Ltd, Re Application for Judicial Review CANI 25-Jan-2002
. .
CitedHuang v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 21-Mar-2007
Appellate Roles – Human Rights – Families Split
The House considered the decision making role of immigration appellate authorities when deciding appeals on Human Rights grounds, against refusal of leave to enter or remain, under section 65. In each case the asylum applicant had had his own . .
CitedWilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) HL 10-Jul-2003
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 of its property . .

Cited by:
CitedOfulue and Another v Bossert CA 29-Jan-2008
The claimants appealed an order finding that the defendant had acquired their land by adverse possession. They said that the defendant had asserted in defence to possession proceedings that they were tenants, and that this contradicted an intent to . .
CitedIn re P and Others, (Adoption: Unmarried couple) (Northern Ireland); In re G HL 18-Jun-2008
The applicants complained that as an unmarried couple they had been excluded from consideration as adopters.
Held: Northern Ireland legislation had not moved in the same way as it had for other jurisdictions within the UK. The greater . .
CitedDoherty and others v Birmingham City Council HL 30-Jul-2008
The House was asked ‘whether a local authority can obtain a summary order for possession against an occupier of a site which it owns and has been used for many years as a gipsy and travellers’ caravan site. His licence to occupy the site has come to . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v Nasseri HL 6-May-2009
The applicant had claimed asylum after fleeing Afghanistan to Greece and then to the UK. On the failure of his application, he would be returned to Greece, but objected that he would thence be returned to Afghanistan where his human rights would be . .
CitedCentral Bedfordshire Council v Housing Action Zone Ltd, Taylor and Others; Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government intervening CA 23-Jun-2009
The authority had granted a lease to a housing society who had in turn granted the occupants’ leases. A successor then revoked the head lease. The occupiers appealed against possession orders, saying that they had come to acquire article 8 rights in . .
CitedAlbert Court Residents Association and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Corporation of The Hall of Arts and Sciences Admn 2-Mar-2010
Residents near the Albert Hall objected to the alteration of its licence so as to allow boxing and wrestling activities, and the extension of its opening hours. They said that the advertisements for the alterations failed to receive the prominence . .
CitedGaunt v OFCOM and Liberty QBD 13-Jul-2010
The claimant, a radio presenter sought judicial review of the respondent’s finding (against the broadcaster) that a radio interview he had conducted breached the Broadcasting Code. He had strongly criticised a proposal to ban smokers from being . .
CitedHall and Others v Mayor of London (on Behalf of The Greater London Authority) CA 16-Jul-2010
The appellants sought leave to appeal against an order for possession of Parliament Square on which the claimants had been conducting a demonstration (‘the Democracy Village’).
Held: Leave was refused save for two appellants whose cases were . .
CitedQuila and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 12-Oct-2011
Parties challenged the rule allowing the respondent to deny the right to enter or remain here to non EU citizens marrying a person settled and present here where either party was under the age of 21. The aim of the rule was to deter forced . .
CitedO’Brien v Ministry of Justice SC 6-Feb-2013
The appellant, a part time recorder challenged his exclusion from pension arrangements.
Held: The appeal was allowed. No objective justification has been shown for departing from the basic principle of remunerating part-timers pro rata . .
CitedBirks, Regina (On the Application of) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Admn 25-Sep-2014
The claimant police officer sought judicial review of a decision to continue his suspension. He had been investigated and cleared after a death in custody. He sought to join the Church of England Ministry and was offered a post. He was re-assured . .
CitedLord Carlile of Berriew QC, and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 12-Nov-2014
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 . .
CitedBrewster, Re Application for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) SC 8-Feb-2017
Survivor of unmarried partner entitled to pension
The claimant appealed against the rejection of her claim to the survivor’s pension after the death of her longstanding partner, even though they had not been married. The rules said that she had to have been nominated by her partner, but he had not . .
CitedTigere, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills SC 29-Jul-2015
After increasing university fees, the student loan system was part funded by the government. They introduced limits to the availability of such loans, and a student must have been lawfully ordinarily resident in the UK for three years before the day . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Human Rights, Licensing

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.251483