Laker Airways v Department of Trade: CA 15 Dec 1976

Policy guidance issued by the respondent was unlawful because it was contrary to the statutory objectives laid down for the Civil Aviation Authority by section 3 of the 1971 Act. The court discussed the status of guidance issued by the respondent: ‘guidance is assistance in reaching a decision proffered to him who has to make the decision, but guidance does not compel any particular decision.’
Lord Denning said that the exercise of a discretionary prerogative power ‘can be examined by the courts just as any other discretionary power which is vested in the executive.’
. . And ‘The prerogative is a discretionary power exercisable by the executive government for the public good, in certain spheres of governmental activity for which the law has made no provision, such as the war prerogative (of requisitioning property for the defence of the realm), or the treaty prerogative (of making treaties with foreign powers). The law does not interfere with the proper exercise of the discretion by the executive in those situations: but it can set limits by defining the bounds of the activity: and it can intervene if the discretion is exercised improperly or mistakenly. That is a fundamental principle of our constitution.

Roskill LJ, Lord Denning MR, Lawton LJ
[1977] 1 QB 643, [1976] EWCA Civ 10, [1977] 2 All ER 182, [1977] 2 WLR 234
Civil Aviation Act 1971 3
England and Wales
CitedProclamations, Case of KBD 1-Nov-1610
The King, as the executive government, sought to govern by making proclamations. In particular the court rejected the proposition that ‘the King by his proclamation may prohibit new buildings in and about London’
Held: The monarch had no power . .

Cited by:
CitedM v London Borough of Islington and Another CA 2-Apr-2004
The applicant asylum seeker had had her application refused, and was awaiting a removal order. She had a child and asked the authority to house her pending her removal.
Held: Provided she was not in breach of the removal order, the council had . .
CitedCala Homes (South) Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another Admn 7-Feb-2011
The claimant sought judicial review of a statement and letter by the respondent making a material consideration for planning authorities the intended revocation by the Respondent of Regional Spatial Strategies. The effect would be to allow the . .
CitedCala Homes (South) Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another CA 27-May-2011
The respondent had circularised local authorities to say that when assessing future local housing needs a proper material consideration was the proposed Localism Bill which would lead to the replacement of ‘Regional Spatial Strategies’ on which such . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex Parte Northumbria Police Authority CA 18-Nov-1987
The Authority appealed from refusal of judicial review of a circular issued by the respondent as to the supply of Plastic Baton Rounds and CS gas from central resources only. The authority suggested that the circular amounted to permission for the . .
CitedMiller and Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and Others QBD 13-Nov-2016
Article 50 Notice Requires Parliament’s Authority
The applicant challenged a decision by the respondent that he could use Crown prerogative powers to issue a notice under section 50 TUE to initiate the United Kingdom leaving the EU following the referendum under the 2015 Act.
Held: Once the . .
CitedMiller and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Exiting The European Union SC 24-Jan-2017
Parliament’s Approval if statute rights affected
In a referendum, the people had voted to leave the European Union. That would require a notice to the Union under Article 50 TEU. The Secretary of State appealed against an order requiring Parliamentary approval before issuing the notice, he saying . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Administrative, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.196549

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