Building Construction Employees and Builders’ Labourers Federation of New South Wales v Minister for Industrial Relations: 1986

(New South Wales Court of Appeal) The court upheld the validity of a law which directed a particular outcome of a judicial act. The words included the formula ‘prescribe and confine the scope of the legislative field open to the New South Wales Parliament’. Street CJ said: ‘It appears to be generally assumed that these words confer unlimited legislative power, comparable with that vested in the English Parliament itself. I can find no satisfactory basis for that assumption. The words, by their very terms, confine the powers conferred to ‘peace, welfare and good government’ of the body politic in respect of which the legislature is being established.
Assertions that these words convey plenary, or sovereign, power are to be found frequently in cases in which it has been felt necessary to reject any suggestion that the legislature in question is a mere delegate of the English Parliament and thus is not able to delegate further the law-making powers vested in it. Such suggestions have been uniformly rejected. But the rejection of such suggestions on the basis that the words convey plenary or sovereign power does not necessarily import that the power is unlimited in scope.’


Street CJ


(1986) 7 NSWLR 372


CitedThe Queen v Burah PC 5-Jun-1978
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 . .

Cited by:

CitedBancoult, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No 2) HL 22-Oct-2008
The claimants challenged the 2004 Order which prevented their return to their homes on the Chagos Islands. The islanders had been taken off the island to leave it for use as a US airbase. In 2004, the island was no longer needed, and payment had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Constitutional

Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.277178