Ex parte Hamble (Offshore) Fisheries Ltd: 1995

Judicial review was requested of a decision of the Minister to declare a moratorium on the permitted transfer of certain fishing licences.
Held: The request failed. Sedley J put forward a test for what makes a claim for a legitimate expextation: ‘These considerations, I think, bring one closer to some conceptual understanding of what makes an expectation legitimate. Legitimacy in this sense is not an absolute. It is a function of expectations induced by government and of policy considerations which militate against their fulfilment. The balance must in the first instance be for the policy-maker to strike; but if the outcome is challenged by way of judicial review, I do not consider that the court’s criterion is the bare rationality of the policy-maker’s conclusion. While policy is for the policy-maker alone, the fairness of his or her decision not to accommodate reasonable expectations which the policy will thwart remains the court’s concern (as of course does the lawfulness of the policy). To postulate this is not to place the judge in the seat of the minister. As the foregoing citations explain, it is the court’s task to recognise the constitutional importance of ministerial freedom to formulate and to reformulate policy; but it is equally the court’s duty to protect the interests of those individuals whose expectation of different treatment has a legitimacy which in fairness outtops the policy choice which threatens to frustrate it.’ He asked rhetorically whether the Minister’s decision was fair:- ‘This, as I have held, while initially a question for the minister is ultimately a question for the court. But, in answering the question, the minister’s policy objectives and reasoning form as important an element of the forensic exercise as do the potency and reasonableness of the applicant’s expectations.’
[1995] 2 All ER 714
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina (Nadarajah) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; Abdi v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 22-Nov-2005
The asylum applicant challenged a certificate given by the respondent that the claim for asylum was manifestly ill-founded. The respondent had made a mistake in applying the appropriate policy, but had sought to correct the error. The claimants . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 May 2021; Ref: scu.237256