Elgizouli v Secretary of State for The Home Department: SC 25 Mar 2020

Defendants were to face trial in the US, accused of monstrous crimes. The appellant challenged the release of information to the USA by the respondent to support such prosecutions when the death penalty was a possible outcome of a conviction: ‘The issue in this case is the legality of the Government’s decision to provide mutual legal assistance to the United States – in the shape of the product of police enquiries – to facilitate the prosecution of the claimant’s son in the United States for very serious offences, some carrying the death penalty, without seeking assurances that the death penalty would not be imposed or, if imposed, would not be carried out. What is immoral and unacceptable is not necessarily unlawful. ‘
Held: The appeal succeeded: ‘ insofar as the information provided, or to be provided, to the US authorities consisted of personal data (which much of it did) the processing of such data by the Secretary of State as data controller required a conscious, contemporaneous consideration of whether the criteria for such processing were met. ‘Substantial compliance’ with those criteria, as found by the Divisional Court, is not enough. It is not in dispute that the Secretary of State, when making the decision in question, did not address his mind to the 2018 Act at all.’
Lord Kerr said: ‘I believe that the time has arrived where a common law principle should be recognised whereby it is deemed unlawful to facilitate the trial of any individual in a foreign country where, to do so, would put that person in peril of being executed. This is not a conclusion of the considerable and controversial variety suggested by the respondent. It is a natural and inevitable extension of the prohibition (in the common law as well as under the HRA) of extradition or deportation without death penalty assurances. If it appears to be an incremental step, that is only because this is the first time the matter has come before the courts for consideration, largely because the two previous occasions since 2001 on which – according to the respondent – MLA was provided without a death penalty assurance, that was done without public knowledge and so without the possibility of judicial scrutiny.’


Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Kerr, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones


[2020] UKSC 10, UKSC 2019/0057, 49 BHRC 169, [2020] 2 WLR 857, [2021] AC 937, [2020] 3 All ER 1, [2020] HRLR 9, [2020] WLR(D) 188, [2021] Crim LR 390, [2021] 1 CMLR 8


Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary, SC Summary Video, SC 30 Jul 2019 am Video, SC 30 Jul 2019 am video, SC 30 Jul 2019 pm Video, WLRD


European Convention on Human Rights P13, Data Protection Act 2018


England and Wales


Appeal fromEl Gizouli, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for The Home Department Admn 18-Jan-2019
The claimant challenged the giving of Mutual Legal Assistance to the US in a case where after trial for very serious terrorist allegations, the death penalty might be imposed after conviction, without first insisting that an undertaking be given . .
CitedSandiford, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs CA 22-May-2013
The appellant, a British national and European citizen was in prison in Bali convicted of a criminal charge for which she might face the death penalty. Having insufficient funds she sought legal assistance from the respondent for her appeal, and now . .
CitedGurieva and Another v Community Safety Development (UK) Ltd QBD 6-Apr-2016
Claim against private investigator, seeking compliance with the 1988 Act, in particular seeking details of personal information held.
Held: ‘The claimants’ SAR is and was valid. There was never any proper basis for questioning its validity. . .
CitedRabone and Another v Pennine Care NHS Foundation SC 8-Feb-2012
The claimant’s daughter had committed suicide whilst on home leave from a hospital where she had stayed as a voluntary patient with depression. Her admission had followed a suicide attempt. The hospital admitted negligence but denied that it owed . .
CitedOsborn v The Parole Board SC 9-Oct-2013
Three prisoners raised questions as to the circumstances in which the Parole Board is required to hold an oral hearing before making an adverse decision. One of the appeals (Osborn) concerned a determinate sentence prisoner who was released on . .
CitedKennedy v The Charity Commission SC 26-Mar-2014
The claimant journalist sought disclosure of papers acquired by the respondent in its conduct of enquiries into the charitable Mariam appeal. The Commission referred to an absolute exemption under section 32(2) of the 2000 Act, saying that the . .
CitedA v British Broadcasting Corporation (Scotland) SC 8-May-2014
Anonymised Party to Proceedings
The BBC challenged an order made by the Court of Session in judicial review proceedings, permitting the applicant review to delete his name and address and substituting letters of the alphabet, in the exercise (or, as the BBC argues, purported . .
CitedRex v Lord Rusby 1800
The common law, in being formed from time to time by the wisdom of man it grew and increased from time to time with the wisdom of mankind.
Lord Kenyon said: ‘The common law, though not to be found in the written records of the realm, yet has . .
CitedAhmed and Another v Regina CACD 25-Feb-2011
. .
CitedPratt and Morgan v The Attorney General for Jamaica and Another PC 2-Nov-1993
(Jamaica) A five year delay in execution is excessive, and can itself amount to inhuman or degrading punishment. ‘There is an instinctive revulsion against the prospect of hanging a man after he has been held under sentence of death for many years. . .
CitedZagorski and Baze, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Others Admn 29-Nov-2010
The claimants, in the US awaiting execution for murders, challenged the permitting by the defendant for export of the chemical Sodium Thipental which would be used for their execution. The respondent said that its use in general anaesthesia practice . .
CitedA and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2) HL 8-Dec-2005
Evidence from 3rd Party Torture Inadmissible
The applicants had been detained following the issue of certificates issued by the respondent that they posed a terrorist threat. They challenged the decisions of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission saying that evidence underlying the . .
CitedAbbott v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago and Others PC 12-Jun-1979
Trinidad and Tobago . .
CitedBell v The Director of Public Prosecutions and Another PC 30-Apr-1985
(Jamaica) Failure to provide trial within a reasonable time. There had been a lapse of seven years between the date of the alleged offence and the date of the retrial. The view was taken that there was specific prejudice caused as a consequence of . .
CitedLincoln Anthony Guerra v Cipriani Baptiste and others (No 2) PC 6-Nov-1995
(Trinidad and Tobago) The execution of a prisoner after a substantial delay of 5 years was a breach of his constitutional rights, constituting cruel and unusual punishment. . .
CitedLin and Another v Commissioner of Police for The Metropolis QBD 25-Aug-2015
The claimants were facing capital charges in Thailand. They sought the release of information held by the defendant to assist in their defence on charges of the murder of two British tourists. In particular a report had been prepared by the MPS . .
CitedPham v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 25-Mar-2015
The court was asked: ‘whether the Secretary of State was precluded under the British Nationality Act 1981 from making an order depriving the appellant of British citizenship because to do so would render him stateless. This turns on whether (within . .
CitedAl-Saadoon and Mufdhi v The United Kingdom ECHR 2-Mar-2009
The claimant Iraqi nationals complained of their long term detention by British forces in Iraq, and of their transfer to the Iraqi authorities for trial for murder.
Held: The transfer was a breach of the applicants’ rights. The Iraqis had . .
CitedRegina v Lyons, Parnes, Ronson, Saunders HL 15-Nov-2002
The defendants had been convicted on evidence obtained from them by inspectors with statutory powers to require answers on pain of conviction. Subsequently the law changed to find such activity an infringement of a defendant’s human rights.
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Bugdaycay HL 19-Feb-1986
Three applicants had lied on entry to secure admission, stayed for a considerable time, and had been treated as illegal immigrants under section 33(1). The fourth’s claim that upon being returned he would been killed, had been rejected without . .
CitedMiller, Regina (on the Application of) v The Prime Minister; Cherry QC v Lord Advocate SC 24-Sep-2019
Prerogative act of prorogation was justiciable.
The Prime Minister had prorogued Parliament for a period of five weeks, leaving only a short time for Parliament to debate and act the forthcoming termination of the membership by the UK of the EU. The Scottish Court had decided (Cherry) that the . .
CitedNicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) SC 25-Jun-2014
Criminality of Assisting Suicide not Infringing
The court was asked: ‘whether the present state of the law of England and Wales relating to assisting suicide infringes the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the code published by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to . .
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 . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedAmin, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Oct-2003
Prisoner’s death – need for full public enquiry
The deceased had been a young Asian prisoner. He was placed in a cell overnight with a prisoner known to be racist, extremely violent and mentally unstable. He was killed. The family sought an inquiry into the death.
Held: There had been a . .
CitedAiredale NHS Trust v Bland HL 4-Feb-1993
Procedures on Withdrawal of Life Support Treatment
The patient had been severely injured in the Hillsborough disaster, and had come to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). The doctors sought permission to withdraw medical treatment. The Official Solicitor appealed against an order of the Court . .
CitedIn Re A (Minors) (Conjoined Twins: Medical Treatment); aka In re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) CA 22-Sep-2000
Twins were conjoined (Siamese). Medically, both could not survive, and one was dependent upon the vital organs of the other. Doctors applied for permission to separate the twins which would be followed by the inevitable death of one of them. The . .
CitedRegina v Cambridge and Huntingdon Health Committee Ex Parte B CA 10-Mar-1995
A decision by a Health Authority to withhold treatment for a patient could be properly so made. It was not ordinarily to be a matter for lawyers. A Health Authority’s withholding of treatment, which might not be in a child’s simple best interests . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Criminal Practice, International, Information

Updated: 07 August 2022; Ref: scu.649466