F Hoffmann La Roche and Co A G v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry: HL 1975

No Indemnity for misadministration

The Secretary of State sought an interlocutory injunction under the Act to restrain the appellant from charging prices in excess of those fixed by a statutory instrument he had made. The appellant argued that the statutory instrument was ultra vires, because it had been based upon a report by the Monopolies Commission, which the appellant maintained, had been produced without due regard to principles of natural justice. The Secretary of State objected to giving a cross undertaking in damages.
Held: The Secretary of State was not required to give such an undertaking. Lord Reid said that normally a claimant ‘cannot be compelled to give an undertaking but if he will not give it he will not get the injunction.’
The fact that an individual has suffered loss because of an invalid administrative act does not in itself entitle him to be indemnified.
Lord Diplock said: ‘The court has no power to compel an applicant for an interim injunction to furnish an undertaking as to damages.’ and ‘The undertaking is not given to the defendant but to the court itself. Non-performance of it is contempt of court, not breach of contract, and attracts the remedies available for contempts, but the court exacts the undertaking for the defendant’s benefit. It retains a discretion not to enforce the undertaking if it considers that the conduct of the defendant in relation to the obtaining or continuing of the injunction or the enforcement of the undertaking makes it inequitable to do so, but if the undertaking is enforced the measure of the damages payable under it is not discretionary. It is assessed on an inquiry into damages at which principles to be applied are fixed and clear. The assessment is made upon the same basis as that upon which damages for breach of contract would be assessed if the undertaking had been a contract between the plaintiff and the defendant that the plaintiff would not prevent the defendant from doing that which he was restrained from doing by the terms of the injunction.’
. . ‘In constitutional law a clear distinction can be drawn between an Act of Parliament and subordinate legislation, even though the latter is contained in an order made by statutory instrument approved by resolutions of both Houses of Parliament. Despite this indication that the majority of members of both Houses of the contemporary Parliament regard the order as being for the common weal, I entertain no doubt that the courts have jurisdiction to declare it to be invalid if they are satisfied that in making it the Minister who did so acted outwith the legislative powers conferred upon him by the previous Act of Parliament under which the order is ultra vires by reason of its contents (patent defects) or by reason of defects in the procedure followed prior to its being made (latent defects).’
Lord Diplock, Lord Reid, Lord Wilberforce
[1975] AC 295, [1974] 2 All ER 1128, [1974] 3 WLR 104
Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry Control) Act 1948 11(2), Monopolies and Mergers Act 1965
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBoddington v British Transport Police HL 2-Apr-1998
The defendant had been convicted, under regulations made under the Act, of smoking in a railway carriage. He sought to challenge the validity of the regulations themselves. He wanted to argue that the power to ban smoking on carriages did not . .
CitedBugg v Director of Public Prosecutions; Director of Public Prosecutions v Percy QBD 1993
The defendants appealed against convictions for having entered military bases contrary to various bye-laws. They challenged the validity of the bye-laws.
Held: The validity of a bye-law could be challenged in criminal proceedings, but where . .
CitedSmithkline Beecham Plc and others v Apotex Europe Ltd and others PatC 26-Jul-2005
Application was made to join in further parties to support a cross undertaking on being made subject to interim injunctions.
Held: On orders other than asset freezing orders it was not open to the court to impose cross-undertakings against . .
CitedSmithkline Beecham Plc Glaxosmithkline UK Ltd and Another v Apotex Europe Ltd and others (No 2) CA 23-May-2006
The parties to the action had given cross undertakings to support the grant of an interim injunction. A third party subsequently applied to be joined, and now sought to take advantage of the cross undertakings to claim the losses incurred through . .
CitedSomerville v Scottish Ministers HL 24-Oct-2007
The claimants complained of their segregation while in prison. Several preliminary questions were to be decided: whether damages might be payable for breach of a Convention Right; wheher the act of a prison governor was the act of the executive; . .
CitedBank Mellat v Her Majesty’s Treasury (No 2) SC 19-Jun-2013
The bank challenged measures taken by HM Treasury to restrict access to the United Kingdom’s financial markets by a major Iranian commercial bank, Bank Mellat, on the account of its alleged connection with Iran’s nuclear weapons and ballistic . .
CitedThe Public Law Project, Regina (on The Application of) v Lord Chancellor SC 13-Jul-2016
Proposed changes to the Legal Aid regulations were challenged as being invalid, for being discriminatory. If regulations are not authorised under statute, they will be invalid, even if they have been approved by resolutions of both Houses under the . .
CitedMajera, Regina (on The Application of v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 20-Oct-2021
The Court was asked whether the Government (or, indeed, anyone else) can lawfully act in a manner which is inconsistent with an order of a judge which is defective, without first applying for, and obtaining, the variation or setting aside of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 October 2021; Ref: scu.187068