Belhaj and Another v Director of Public Prosecutions and Another: SC 4 Jul 2018

Challenge to decision not to prosecute senior Intelligence Service officials for alleged offences in connection with his unlawful rendition and mistreatment in Libya. The issue here was whether on the hearing of the application for judicial review, it would be open to the Court to receive closed material disclosed only to the court and a special advocate but not to the Appellants. As will appear, this depends on whether the judicial review proceedings are ‘proceedings in a criminal cause or matter’.
Held: The Appellants are entitled to succeed on this appeal because in its ordinary and natural meaning ‘proceedings in a criminal cause or matter’ include proceedings by way of judicial review of a decision made in a criminal cause, and nothing in the context or purpose of the legislation suggests a different meaning. Judicial review as such cannot be regarded as an inherently civil proceeding. It may or may not be, depending on the subject-matter. What is clear is that it is an integral part of the criminal justice system, whose availability is in many cases essential to the fairness of the process and its compliance with article 6 of the Human Rights Convention.
Baroness Hale of Richmond PSC, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Lloyd-Jones JJSC, Lord Mance
[2018] UKSC 33, [2018] 3 WLR 435, [2019] AC 593, [2018] 4 All ER 561, [2018] 2 Cr App R 33, [2018] WLR(D) 441
Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary
England and Wales
Appeal fromBelhaj and Another v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 1-Dec-2017
The claimants alleged that the defendants had been involved in their unlawful rendition in 2004 from Thailand to Libya, in particular now challenging by judicial review the decision not to prosecute certain senior British Officers. . .
CitedEx parte Alice Woodhall CA 8-May-1888
Extradition proceedings are in their nature criminal proceedings. Lindley LJ said: ‘Can we say that the application in the present case is not an application in a criminal cause or matter? I think that in substance it certainly is. Its whole object . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
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 . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedRegina v Davis HL 18-Jun-2008
The defendant had been tried for the murder of two men by shooting them at a party. He was identified as the murderer by three witnesses who had been permitted to give evidence anonymously, from behind screens, because they had refused, out of fear, . .
CitedA and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Feb-2009
(Grand Chamber) The applicants had been subjected to severe restrictions. They were foreign nationals suspected of terrorist involvement, but could not be deported for fear of being tortured. The UK had derogated from the Convention to put the . .
CitedBelhaj and Another v Straw and Others QBD 21-Jul-2017
The claimant sought a declaration that the acts of the defendants had contributed to his unlawful rendition into US custody during the Iraq War, and that such actions were criminal. The Defendants applied for a declaration that these are proceedings . .
CitedKennedy v United Kingdom ECHR 18-May-2010
The claimant complained that after alleging unlawful interception of his communications, the hearing before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal was not attended by appropriate safeguards. He had been a campaigner against police abuse. His requests to . .
CitedSarkandi and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs CA 14-Jul-2015
Appeal from order allowing use of closed material procedures under section 6 of the 2013 Act.
Richards LJ said: ‘The 2013 Act is one of those in which Parliament has stipulated that a closed material procedure may be permitted by the court. It . .
CitedAl Rawi and Others v The Security Service and Others SC 13-Jul-2011
The claimant pursued a civil claim for damages, alleging complicity of the respondent in his torture whilst in the custody of foreign powers. The respondent sought that certain materials be available to the court alone and not to the claimant or the . .
CitedHome Office v Tariq SC 13-Jul-2011
(JUSTICE intervening) The claimant pursued Employment Tribunal proceedings against the Immigration Service when his security clearance was withdrawn. The Tribunal allowed the respondent to use a closed material procedure under which it was provided . .
CitedBlackburn v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis CA 1968
By common law police officers owe to the general public a duty to enforce the criminal law. However, police are servants of no one but the law itself, and a chief officer of police has a wide discretion as to the manner in which the duty is . .
CitedCorner House Research and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v The Serious Fraud Office HL 30-Jul-2008
SFO Director’s decisions reviewable
The director succeeded on his appeal against an order declaring unlawful his decision to discontinue investigations into allegations of bribery. The Attorney-General had supervisory duties as to the exercise of the duties by the Director. It had . .
CitedRegina v Director of Public Prosecutions, ex parte Kebilene and others HL 28-Oct-1999
(Orse Kebeline) The DPP’s appeal succeeded. A decision by the DPP to authorise a prosecution could not be judicially reviewed unless dishonesty, bad faith, or some other exceptional circumstance could be shown. A suggestion that the offence for . .
CitedMohit v The Director of Public Prosecutions of Mauritius PC 25-Apr-2006
(Mauritius) The board was asked whether the decision of the Director to discontinue a private prosecution was a decision capable of review by the courts under the constitution of Mauritius. . .
CitedAru, Regina (on The Application of) v The Chief Constable of Merseyside CA 30-Jan-2004
Appeal against cautioning after allege public order offence on basis that it had been given other than in accordance with guidelines. . .
CitedRegina v Maidstone Crown Court, ex Parte Harrow London Borough Council QBD 30-Apr-1999
The High Court may review, on an application made by a properly interested party, a decision made by a Crown Court under the Act. Although this related to a trial on indictment, the Crown Court judge had made an order without jurisdiction. . .
CitedRegina v Manchester Crown Court and Ashton and Others, ex parte Director of Public Prosecutions HL 7-May-1993
A Crown Court decision to stay an indictment for lack of jurisdiction, was not susceptible to Judicial Review. This was a ‘decision affecting conduct of trial’. The House considered the meaning of the phrase ‘other than its jurisdiction in matters . .
CitedProvincial Cinematograph Theatres Ltd v Newcastle upon Tyne Profiteering Committee HL 1921
Under Section 1 of the Profiteering Act 1919, the Board of Trade had power to receive and investigate complaints of excessive profiteering. Section 2 of the Act gave a power to establish local committees to make such reports with a view to . .
CitedHaralambous, Regina (on The Application of) v Crown Court at St Albans and Another SC 24-Jan-2018
The appellant challenged by review the use of closed material first in the issue of a search warrant, and subsequently to justify the retention of materials removed during the search.
Held: The appeal failed. No express statutory justification . .
CitedBarras v Aberdeen Steam Trawling and Fishing Co HL 17-Mar-1933
The court looked at the inference that a statute’s draughtsman could be assumed when using a phrase to rely on a known interpretation of that phrase.
Viscount Buckmaster said: ‘It has long been a well established principle to be applied in the . .
CitedAmand v Home Secretary and Minister of Defence of Royal Netherlands Government HL 1943
A Dutch serviceman who had been arrested for desertion and brought before a magistrate who ordered him to be handed over to the Dutch military authorities under the Allied Forces Act 1940. An application for habeas corpus was rejected by a . .
CitedZH and CN, Regina (on The Applications of) v London Boroughs of Newham and Lewisham SC 12-Nov-2014
The court was asked whether the 1977 Act required a local authorty to obtain a court order before taking possession of interim accommodation it provided to an apparently homeless person while it investigated whether it owed him or her a duty under . .
CitedRegina v Inland Revenue Commissioners ex parte Rossminster Ltd HL 13-Dec-1979
The House considered the power of an officer of the Board of Inland Revenue to seize and remove materials found on premises which a warrant obtained on application to the Common Serjeant authorised him to enter and search; but where the source of . .
CitedGuardian News and Media Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court CA 3-Apr-2012
The newspaper applied for leave to access documents referred to but not released during the course of extradition proceedings in open court.
Held: The application was to be allowed. Though extradition proceedings were not governed by the Civil . .
CitedCarnduff v Inspector Rock and Chief Constable West Midlands Police CA 11-May-2001
The claimant was a police informer. Over several years he had given and been paid for information. He claimed that on one occasion he had given information which had led to the arrest of a major criminal, but the police denied that any information . .
CitedGuardian News and Media Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and Another CA 25-Oct-2011
The claimant newspaper sought to appeal against a refusal by the respondent to disclose papers filed in a case before it. The court considered whether it had jurisdiction to hear an appeal.
Held: Under the 1981 Act no appeal would lie if the . .
CitedEx parte Pulbrook QBD 11-Mar-1892
A judge in chambers gave permission pursuant to the Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888 to bring proceedings for criminal libel. The proposed defendant sought to appeal. This raised the question whether the order was made in ‘criminal proceedings’ . .
CitedKhaled and Another v The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Others Admn 15-Jun-2017
The Claimants were designated by the UN Sanctions Committee in 2007 and 2008 respectively as individuals suspected of being associated with Al-Qaida and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and of being involved in terrorism. They sought judicial . .
CitedMcgartland and Another v Secretary of State for The Home Department CA 14-Jul-2015
Appeal against a declaration under section 6 of the 2013 Act that proceedings brought by Mr McGartland and his long-term partner, Ms Asher, are ‘proceedings in which a closed material application may be made to the court’. . .
CitedCF v The Security Service and Others QBD 7-Nov-2013
The claimants alleged that the defendants had been complicit in their unlawful detention, torture and mistreatment whilst held in Somalia pending being brought to the UK in 2011. The defendants now applied for a declaration permitting closed . .
CitedRegina v Inland Revenue Commissioners, Ex parte T C Coombs and Co HL 1991
The House heard an application judicially to review a notice served by an inspector of taxes under section 20 of the 1970 Act, requiring T C Coombs and Co to deliver or make available for inspection documents in their possession relevant to the tax . .
CitedFarrell v Alexander HL 24-Jun-1976
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 . .
CitedBarras v Aberdeen Steam Trawling and Fishing Co HL 17-Mar-1933
The court looked at the inference that a statute’s draughtsman could be assumed when using a phrase to rely on a known interpretation of that phrase.
Viscount Buckmaster said: ‘It has long been a well established principle to be applied in the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 30 July 2021; Ref: scu.619944