Doody v Secretary of State for the Home Department: CACD 1992

The Court considered the procedure for fixing the period for which prisoners sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment should serve for retribution and deterrence before their sentences could be reviewed. Held Staughton LJ considered the issue of delegation. After referring to Carltona, he said: ‘Parliament frequently confers powers on a Minister who is the political head of a department. Much less frequently it confers powers on an official of a particular description or grade. I know of no instance, and counsel were not able to find one, where the power is conferred on a junior minister. But it is absurd to suppose that every power which is conferred on the political head of a department must be exercised by him and him alone. It is in general sufficient that the power is exercised by a junior minister or an official on his behalf.’


Staughton L


[1993] QB 157, [1993] 1 All ER 151, [1992] 3 WLR 956


England and Wales


CitedCarltona Ltd v Commissioners of Works CA 1943
Ministers May Act through Civil Servants
The plaintiffs owned a factory which was to be requisitioned. They sought a judicial review of the lawfulness of the order making the requisition, saying that the 1939 Regulations had been implemented not by the Minister as required, but by an . .

Cited by:

At CA dicta approvedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Doody and Others HL 25-Jun-1993
A mandatory lifer is to be permitted to suggest the period of actual sentence to be served. The Home Secretary must give reasons for refusing a lifer’s release. What fairness requires in any particular case is ‘essentially an intuitive judgment’, . .
CitedAdams, Regina v (Northern Ireland) SC 13-May-2020
Secretary of State alone to consider confinement
The appellant had been detained under an Interim Custody Order (ICO) during internment during the troubles in Ireland, and then convicted of attempting to escape and escaping. He now appealed from that conviction saying that the order under which he . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Sentencing

Updated: 24 November 2022; Ref: scu.650812