Lane v Esdaile: HL 5 May 1891

The court considered the extent of the House’s jurisdiction as an appellate court. Section 3 of the 1876 Act provided that an appeal should lie to the House of Lords from ‘any order or judgment of . . Her Majesty’s Court of Appeal in England’. The court of appeal had refused leave to appeal against an interlocutory order.
Held: The section clearly anticipated a range of matters in the Court of Appeal from which appeal would not lie, and ought to be construed to disallow frivolous appeals. A provision requiring the leave of a court to appeal will by necessary intendment exclude an appeal against the grant or refusal of leave, notwithstanding the general language of a statutory right of appeal against decisions of that court.
Lord Halsbury LC accepted that the words ‘order or judgment’ in section 3 were capable of including a decision to refuse leave. The question was whether such a construction could be reconciled with the terms and purpose of Ord LVIII r 15. At p 211, he said: ‘But when I look not only at the language used, but at the substance and meaning of the provision, it seems to me that to give an appeal in this case would defeat the whole object and purview of the order or rule itself, because it is obvious that what was there intended by the Legislature was that there should be in some form or other a power to stop an appeal – that there should not be an appeal unless some particular body pointed out by the statute (I will see in a moment what that body is), should permit that an appeal should be given. Now just let us consider what that means, that an appeal shall not be given unless some particular body consents to its being given. Surely if that is intended as a check to unnecessary or frivolous appeals it becomes absolutely illusory if you can appeal from that decision or leave, or whatever it is to be called itself. How could any Court of Review determine whether leave ought to be given or not without hearing and determining upon the hearing whether it was a fit case for an appeal? And if the intermediate Court could enter and must enter into that question, then the Court which is the ultimate Court of Appeal must do so also. The result of that would be that in construing this order, which as I have said is obviously intended to prevent frivolous and unnecessary appeals, you might in truth have two appeals in every case in which, following the ordinary course of things, there would be only one; because if there is a power to appeal when the order has been refused, it would seem to follow as a necessary consequence that you must have a right to appeal when leave has been granted, the result of which is that the person against whom the leave has been granted might appeal from that, and inasmuch as this is no stay of proceeding the Court of Appeal might be entertaining an appeal upon the very same question when this House was entertaining the question whether the Court of Appeal ought ever to have granted the appeal, My Lords, it seems to me that that would reduce the provision to such an absurdity that even if the language were more clear than is contended on the other side one really ought to give it a reasonable construction.’

Lord Halsbury LC
[1891] AC 210, [1891] UKHL 4
Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 3
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina v London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham And Others, ex parte Burkett and Another HL 23-May-2002
The applicant sought judicial review of the respondent’s grant of planning permission for a development which would affect her. The authority objected that the application was made after three months after their decision, and so leave should not be . .
AppliedIn re Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890, Ex parte Stevenson CA 1892
A party had applied to a judge for what in effect amounted to leave to appeal and had been refused.
Held: Wherever power is given to a legal authority to grant or refuse leave to appeal, the decision of that authority is, from the very nature . .
ExplainedKemper Reinsurance Company v The Minister of Finance and others PC 5-May-1998
(Bermuda) An appeal Court did have jurisdiction to hear an appeal against the discharge of leave to apply for certiorari order, since this was outside scope of the rule in Lane v Esdaille.
Lord Hoffmann said: ‘Nevertheless, the limited nature . .
CitedDhillon v Secretary of State for the Home Department CACD 1988
The court considered the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to hear certain appeals, saying that ‘Lane v. Esdaile is of general application and provides that where leave to bring proceedings is required it is not possible to appeal against a . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex parte Turkoglu CA 1987
The applicant had been granted bail by a High Court judge when he was given leave to apply for judicial review of the decision refusing him leave to enter the United Kingdom. His application for judicial review was subsequently dismissed and the . .
CitedRickards v Rickards CA 20-Jun-1989
What Lane v. Esdaile decided, and all that it decided, was that where it is provided that an appeal shall lie by leave of a particular court or courts, neither the grant nor refusal of leave is an appealable decision. The Court of Appeal could . .
CitedGeogas SA v Trammo Gas Ltd (The Baleares) HL 1991
Charterers had appealed an arbitration award. The judge set it aside. The CA gave leave and allowed the appeal saying that as a question of mixed fact and law sought leave to appeal against an arbitration award.
Held: The House had no . .
CitedIn re Poh HL 1983
The applicant had unsuccessfully applied to the Divisional Court for leave to apply for judicial review and renewed his application, equally unsuccessfully, to the Court of Appeal. He then petitioned for leave to appeal to the House of Lords.
CitedRoche v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Oct-2005
(Grand Chamber) The claimant had been exposed to harmful chemicals whilst in the Army at Porton Down in 1953. He had wished to claim a service pension on the basis of the ensuing personal injury, but had been frustrated by many years of the . .
CitedSinclair Gardens Investments (Kensington) Ltd, Regina (on the Application of) v The Lands Tribunal CA 8-Nov-2005
The claimant appealed against a refusal of judicial review of a decision of the Lands Tribunal.
Held: A decision of the Lands Tribunal could only be judicially reviewed in exceptional cases where there was either a jurisdictional error or a . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Ex Parte Eastaway HL 8-Nov-2000
Where the Court of Appeal had refused permission to apply for judicial review after a similar refusal by a judge, that decision was also, by implication, a refusal to grant permission to appeal against the judge’s decision, and there was no scope . .
CitedWalsall Metropolitan Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government CA 6-Feb-2013
The Council sought permission to appeal against the setting aside of two enforcement notices, leave having been refused by the Administrative court. The court now considered whether it had jusridiction, and whether the rule in Lane v Esdaile was to . .
CitedHuggett v Secretary of State for the Environment Etc; Wendy Fair Markets Ltd v Same; Bello v Etc CA 1-Mar-1995
There is no power for Court of Appeal itself to give leave to appeal after High Court’s refusal of leave on an enforcement notice. The court rejected the applicant’s submission that a High Court judge’s decision refusing permission to appeal under . .
CitedSarfraz v Disclosure and Barring Service CA 22-May-2015
The claimant appealed against the refusal of the defendant to remove his name from the list of those barred from working with children. He had been a GP. Though not priosecuted for any criminal offence the Professional Conduct Committee had found . .
CitedCampbell v The Queen PC 3-Nov-2010
(Court of Appeal of Jamaica) The defendant had been convicted of murder and his applications for leave to appeal against conviction were refused. He applied to the Privy Council for special leave to appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.182907