Boddington v British Transport Police: HL 2 Apr 1998

The defendant had been convicted, under regulations made under the Act, of smoking in a railway carriage. He sought to challenge the validity of the regulations themselves. He wanted to argue that the power to ban smoking on carriages did not include a power to ban smoking on all carriages.
Held: A defendant may challenge the validity of subordinate legislation in criminal proceedings whether or not the bye-law was defective on face of it.
However, a ban on smoking on all railway carriages is a form of regulating the use of the railway, and his defence failed. ‘In approaching the issue of statutory construction the courts proceed from a strong appreciation that ours is a country subject to the rule of law. This means that it is well recognised to be important for the maintenance of the rule of law and the preservation of liberty that individuals affected by legal measures promulgated by executive public bodies should have a fair opportunity to challenge these measures and to vindicate their rights in court proceedings. There is a strong presumption that Parliament will not legislate to prevent individuals from doing so’.
Lord Irvine of Lairg LC said: ‘Subordinate legislation, or an administrative act, is sometimes said to be presumed lawful until it has been pronounced to be unlawful. This does not, however, entail that such legislation or act is valid until quashed prospectively. That would be a conclusion inconsistent with the authorities . . In my judgment, the true effect of the presumption is that the legislation or act which is impugned is presumed to be good until pronounced to be unlawful, but is then recognized as never having had any legal effect at all.’
Lord Steyn said: ‘it has been argued that unlawful administrative acts are void in law. But they clearly exist in fact and they often appear to be valid; and those unaware of their invalidity may take decisions and act on the assumption that these acts are valid. When this happens the validity of these later acts depends upon the legal powers of the second actor. The crucial issue to be determined is whether the second actor has legal power to act validly notwithstanding the invalidity of the first act. And it is determinedly an analysis of the law against the background of the familiar proposition that an unlawful act is void.’
Lord Browne-Wilkinson dissenting said: ‘I am far from satisfied that an ultra vires act is incapable of having any legal consequence during the period between the doing of that act and the recognition of its invalidity by the court. During that period people will have regulated their lives on the basis that the act is valid. The subsequent recognition of its validity cannot rewrite history as to all the other matters done in the meantime in reliance on its validity.’
Lord Irvine of Lairg LC , Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann
Times 03-Apr-1998, [1998] UKHL 13, [1999] 2 AC 143, [1998] 2 All ER 203, [1998] 2 WLR 639
House of Lords, Bailii
Transport Act 1962 67
England and Wales
Appeal fromConnex South Central Limited v Boddington CA 9-Mar-1998
The appellant was unhappy with the plaintiff’s policy toward smokers. He had been made subject to an injunction requiring him not to smoke cigarettes on the plaintiff’s trains in ‘no smoking’ facilities. He had sought to argue that this did not . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Head HL 1958
The defendant had been convicted under the Act, of having carnal knowledge of ‘a woman . . under care or treatment in an institution or certified house or approved home, or whilst placed out on licence therefrom.’ She was at an institution for . .
CitedCouncil of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service HL 22-Nov-1984
Exercise of Prerogative Power is Reviewable
The House considered an executive decision made pursuant to powers conferred by a prerogative order. The Minister had ordered employees at GCHQ not to be members of trades unions.
Held: The exercise of a prerogative power of a public nature . .
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 . .
CitedAnisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission HL 17-Dec-1968
There are no degrees of nullity
The plaintiffs had owned mining property in Egypt. Their interests were damaged and or sequestrated and they sought compensation from the Respondent Commission. The plaintiffs brought an action for the declaration rejecting their claims was a . .
CitedF Hoffmann La Roche and Co A G v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry HL 1975
No Indemnity for misadministration
The Secretary of State sought an interlocutory injunction under the Act to restrain the appellant from charging prices in excess of those fixed by a statutory instrument he had made. The appellant argued that the statutory instrument was ultra . .
CitedKirklees Metropolitan Borough Council v Wickes Building Supplies Ltd HL 1992
A public authority is not required as a rule to give a cross undertaking in damages in a law enforcement action. As to the legal status of the statutory instrument in question, the courts could ‘declare it to be invalid’ if satisfied that the . .
CitedWandsworth London Borough Council v Winder HL 1985
Rent demands were made by a local authority landlord on one of its tenants. The local authority, using its powers under the Act, resolved to increase rents generally. The tenant refused to pay the increased element of the rent. He argued that the . .
CitedRegina v Reading Crown Court, Ex parte Hutchinson QBD 1988
A defendant to a charge brought under a byelaw is entitled to raise the question of the validity of that byelaw in criminal proceedings before magistrates or the Crown Court, by way of defence. There was nothing in the statutory basis of the . .
OverruledBugg v Director of Public Prosecutions; Director of Public Prosecutions v Percy QBD 1993
The defendants appealed against convictions for having entered military bases contrary to various bye-laws. They challenged the validity of the bye-laws.
Held: The validity of a bye-law could be challenged in criminal proceedings, but where . .
CitedPyx Granite Ltd v Ministry of Housing and Local Government HL 1959
There is a strong presumption that Parliament will not legislate to prevent individuals affected by legal measures promulgated by executive public bodies having a fair opportunity to challenge these measures and to vindicate their rights in court . .
CitedRegina v Wicks HL 21-May-1997
Criminal proceedings, forming part of the general scheme of enforcement of planning control contained in Part VII of the Act, had been taken.
Held: The validity of a planning enforcement notice must be challenged in civil proceedings, not . .
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 . .
CitedTarr v Tarr HL 1973
By section 1 of the 1967 Act, the County Court had been given power to regulate the occupation of the property by either spouse. The man challenged an order made at the instance of the woman with whom he had been living as if she was his wife from . .
CitedMunicipal Corporation of the City of Toronto v Virgo PC 1896
A power to regulate does not include a power to prohibit. . .
CitedCalvin v Carr PC 15-Jan-1979
(New South Wales) It was argued that a decision of the stewards of the Australian Jockey Club was void for having been made in breach of the rules of natural justice.
Held: The stewards were entitled to use the evidence of their eyes and their . .
CitedPercy and Another v Hall and Others QBD 31-May-1996
There was no wrongful arrest where the bylaw under which it was made was invalid. The question is the belief of the arresting officers. The effect of retrospective legislation is not always fully worked through. English law provides no cause of . .
CitedO’Reilly v Mackman HL 1982
Remission of Sentence is a Privilege not a Right
The plaintiffs had begun their action, to challenge their loss of remission as prisoners, by means of a writ, rather than by an action for judicial review, and so had sidestepped the requirement for the action to be brought within strict time . .
CitedRegina v Hull University Visitor, Ex parte Page; Regina v Lord President of the Privy Council ex Parte Page HL 3-Dec-1992
The decisions of University Visitors are subject to judicial review in that they exercise a public function. English law no longer draws a distinction between jurisdictional errors of law and non-jurisdictional errors of law.
However, the . .
CitedMercury Communications Ltd v Director General of Telecommunications and Another HL 10-Feb-1995
The Secretary of State’s decision on the grant of a Telecommunications licence was challengeable by Summons and not by Judicial Review. A dispute between Mercury and BT as to charges as set by the Director General is a private not a public dispute. . .
CitedRoy v Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Family Practitioner Committee HL 6-Feb-1992
The respondent had withheld part of the plaintiff’s GP payments saying that he had failed to devote himself full time to his practice. The plaintiff sued, and the defendant sought to strike out his application, saying that his application had to be . .
CitedChief Adjudication Officer and Another v Foster HL 7-Apr-1993
The Social Security Commissioners have the jurisdiction and power to decide if a Regulation is ultra vires the powers under which it purports to have been made.
Lord Bridge said of the Social Security Commissioners: ‘My conclusion is that the . .
CitedEshugbayi Eleko v Office Administering the Government of Nigeria HL 24-Mar-1931
The claimant sought a writ of habeas corpus.
Held: Lord Atkin said that in a habeas corpus case, ‘no member of the executive can interfere with the liberty or property of a British subject except on condition that he can support the legality . .
CitedRegina v Chief Constable of the Thames Valley Police, Ex parte Cotton CA 1990
The Chief Constable’s power to dispense with a probationer’s services under Condition 7 is only exercisable in cases where the probationer constable’s unfitness does not arise from alleged misconduct, for example where it arises from the constable’s . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina v Searby and Another CACD 7-Jul-2003
The defendant had been accused of storing unlicensed pesticides. He sought to argue that the European Regulations had been implemented in the UK in an unduly restrictive form. He entered a plea of guilty on a ruling that it was not open to him to . .
CitedRegina (G) v Immigration Appeal Tribunal; Regina (M) v Immigration Appeal Tribunal Admn 25-Mar-2004
The applicants sought judicial review of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal’s refusal of leave to appeal. The court had to decide whether such a right survived section 101 of the 2001 Act.
Held: The right to have a judicial review could only be . .
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 . .
CitedOakley Inc v Animal Ltd and others PatC 17-Feb-2005
A design for sunglasses was challenged for prior publication. However the law in England differed from that apparently imposed from Europe as to the existence of a 12 month period of grace before applying for registration.
Held: Instruments . .
CitedW, Regina (on the Application Of) v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 8-Jun-2005
The defendant appealed a conviction for breaching an anti-social behaviour order. The order had prohibited him from committing any criminal act. It was now challenged as being too wide a prohibition.
Held: ‘The defendant had already been . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Wood; Director of Public Prosecutions v McGillicuddy Admn 19-Jan-2006
Each defendant sought disclosure of materials concerning the intoximeter instruments, having been charged with driving with excess alcohol. The defendants said that the meters were inaccurate and that the manufacturers were in effect part of the . .
CitedKay and Another v London Borough of Lambeth and others; Leeds City Council v Price and others and others HL 8-Mar-2006
In each case the local authority sought to recover possession of its own land. In the Lambeth case, they asserted this right as against an overstaying former tenant, and in the Leeds case as against gypsies. In each case the occupiers said that the . .
CitedBirmingham City Council v Qasim and Others CA 20-Oct-2009
The council argued that the defendant was not a tenant granted to him as a secure tenancy since he had not been granted the tenancy in accordance with its policies. An employee had manipulated the Council’s system to grant tenancies to bypass the . .
CitedValentines Homes and Construction Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v HM Revenue and Customs CA 31-Mar-2010
The claimant had applied for judicial review of a decision by the defendant to seek to recover a debt from them. The issue had however been settled in the County Court. Costs were ordered against them, and they now appealed. In a small company the . .
CitedNorth Somerset District Council v Honda Motor Europe Ltd and Others QBD 2-Jul-2010
Deleayed Rates Claims Service made them Defective
The council claimed that the defendants were liable for business rates. The defendants said that the notices were defective in not having been served ‘as soon as practicable’, and further that they should not be enforced since the delay had created . .
CitedLumba (WL) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 23-Mar-2011
The claimants had been detained under the 1971 Act, after completing sentences of imprisonment pending their return to their home countries under deportations recommended by the judges at trial, or chosen by the respondent. They challenged as . .
CitedMossell (Jamaica) Ltd (T/A Digicel) v Office of Utilities Regulations and Others PC 21-Jan-2010
(Jamaica) Lord Phillips, after referring to the speech of Lord Irvine in Boddington, rejected the submission that the principle in Boddington applies only within criminal prosecutions, adding: ‘What it all comes to is this. Subordinate legislation, . .
CitedShoesmith, Regina (on The Application of) v OFSTED and Others CA 27-May-2011
The claimant appealed against dismissal of her claim. She had been head of Child Services at Haringey. After the notorious violent death of Baby P, the Secretary of State called for an inquiry under the Act. He then removed her as director. She . .
CitedWestlb Ag London Branch v Pan EAT 19-Jul-2011
EAT PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Bias, misconduct and procedural irregularity
The Employment Judge, while rejecting a complaint of bias, ordered that a fresh panel be convened to continue the hearing of a case. . .
CitedAylesbury Vale District Council, Regina (on The Application of) v Call A Cab Ltd Admn 12-Nov-2013
The council appealed against dismissal of its prosecution of the respondent, alleging the operation of a private hire vehicle without having a current licence, ‘in a controlled district’. The respondent had denied that the necessary resolution had . .
CitedMackaill and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Independent Police Complaints Commission Admn 6-Oct-2014
The three claimants were police officers. They met a senior MP at Sutton Coldfield. They emerged from the meeting and were said to have made misleading statements as to the content of the meeting. The IPCC referred the matters back to local forces . .
CitedMajera, Regina (on The Application of v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 20-Oct-2021
The Court was asked whether the Government (or, indeed, anyone else) can lawfully act in a manner which is inconsistent with an order of a judge which is defective, without first applying for, and obtaining, the variation or setting aside of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 October 2021; Ref: scu.158944