Chief Constable of the North Wales Police v Evans: HL 1982

The Court found the probationer police constable to have been unlawfully induced to resign, but the court could not order his reinstatement. A power must be exercised by the precise person or body stated in the statute. Though courts may review the way in which decisions are reached, they will respect the margin of appreciation or discretion which a Chief Constable has. He knows through his officers the local situation, the availability of officers and his financial resources, and the other demands on the police in the area at different times. The House granted instead a declaration: ‘affirming that, by reason of his unlawfully induced resignation, he had thereby become entitled to the same rights and remedies, not including reinstatement, as he would have had if the chief constable had not unlawfully dispensed with his services under regulation 16(1).’
‘My Lords I must address myself later to the question of remedy. All that I would say at this moment is that it would, to my mind, be regrettable if a litigant who establishes that he has been legally wronged, and particularly in so important a matter as a pursuit of his chosen profession, has to be sent away from a court of justice empty handed save for an order for the recoupment of the expense to which he has been put in establishing a barren victory.’ and ‘An unsuccessful applicant whose challenge has nevertheless performed a public service may escape the usual costs burden.’
Lord Brightman: ‘Judicial review is concerned, not with the decision, but with the decision-making process. Unless that restriction on the power of the court is observed, the court will in my view, under the guise of preventing the abuse of power, be itself guilty of usurping power…. Judicial review, as the words imply, is not an appeal from a decision, but a review of the manner in which the decision was made.’


Lord Brightman


[1982] 1 WLR 1155, [1982] UKHL 10, (1982) 3 All ER 141




England and Wales


See AlsoChief Constable of North Wales Police v Evans 2-Jan-1982
. .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Chief Constable of Sussex, ex Parte International Trader’s Ferry Limited HL 2-Apr-1998
Chief Constable has a Wide Discretion on Resources
Protesters sought to prevent the appellant’s lawful trade exporting live animals. The police provided assistance, but then restricted it, pleading lack of resources. The appellants complained that this infringed their freedom of exports under . .
CitedRegina v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority ex parte DB Admn 17-Oct-1996
Sperm which had been taken from a dying and unconscious man may not be used for the later insemination of his surviving wife. The Act required his written consent.
Held: Community Law does not assist the Applicant. The question had been . .
See AlsoChief Constable of North Wales Police v Evans 2-Jan-1982
. .
CitedTataw, Regina (on the Application Of) v Immigration Appeal Tribunal CA 18-Jun-2003
. .
CitedJhagroo v Teaching Service Commission PC 4-Dec-2002
PC (Trinidad and Tobago) . .
CitedKay, Regina (on The Application of) v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police Admn 18-Jan-2010
Having succeeded in her claim as to the lawfulness of the decision of the defendant to end her appointment as a probationary constable, the claimant now sought an order mandating her continued employment by the defendant. She had been acquitted of . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Administrative, Costs

Updated: 08 June 2022; Ref: scu.192007