Identifying ‘maandatory’ and ‘regulatory’
The appellants had sought a Certificate of Alternative Development. The certificate provided was defective in that it did not notify the appellants, as required, of their right to appeal. Their appeal out of time was refused.
Held: The House considered the consequences of a failure to comply with a procedural requirement, and the different classes of such requirements: ‘The contention was that in the categorisation of statutory requirements into ‘mandatory’ and ‘directory’, there was a subdivision of the category ‘directory’ into two classes composed (i) of those directory requirements ‘substantial compliance’ with which satisfied the requirement to the point at which a minor defect of trivial irregularity could be ignored by the court and (ii) those requirements so purely regulatory in character that failure to comply could in no circumstances affect the validity of what was done.’
Lord Hailsham LC said: ‘When Parliament lays down a statutory requirement for the exercise of legal authority it expects its authority to be obeyed down to the minutest detail. But what the courts have to decide in a particular case is the legal consequence of non-compliance on the rights of the subject viewed in the light of a concrete state of facts and a continuing chain of events. It may be that what the courts have to decide in a particular case is the legal consequence of non-compliance on the rights of the chain of events. It may be that what the courts are faced with is not so much a stark choice of alternatives but a spectrum of possibilities in which one compartment or description fades gradually into another. At one end of this spectrum there may be cases in which a fundamental obligation may have been so outrageously and flagrantly ignored or defied that the subject may safely ignore what has been done and treat it as having no legal consequences upon himself. In such a case if the defaulting authority seeks to rely on its action it may be that the subject is entitled to use the defect in procedure simply as a shield or defence without having taken any positive action of his own. At the other end of the spectrum the defect in procedure may be so nugatory or trivial that, if the subject is so misguided as to rely on the fault, the courts will decline to listen to his complaint. ‘ and ‘though language like ‘mandatory,’ ‘directory,’ ‘void,’ ‘voidable,’ ‘nullity’ and so forth may be helpful in argument, it may be misleading in effect if relied on to show that the courts, in deciding the consequences of a defect in the exercise of power, are necessarily bound to fit the facts of a particular case and a developing chain of events into rigid legal categories or to stretch or cramp them on a bed of Procrustes invented by lawyers for the purposes of convenient exposition. As I have said, the case does not really arise here, since we are in the presence of total non-compliance with a requirement which I have held to be mandatory. Nevertheless I do not wish to be understood in the field of administrative law and in the domain where the courts apply a supervisory jurisdiction over the acts of subordinate authority purporting to exercise statutory powers, to encourage the use of rigid legal classifications. The jurisdiction is inherently discretionary and the court is frequently in the presence of differences of degree which merge almost imperceptibly into differences of kind.’
Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone LC, Lord Wilberforce, Lord Fraser of Tullybelton, Lord Russell of Killowen, Lord Keith of Kinkel
 SC (HL) 1,  1 WLR 182,  UKHL 7
Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1963 25
Applied – Brayhead (Ascot) Ltd v Berkshire County Council CA 1964
Planning permission had been granted subject to conditions, but no reasons had been given for the imposition of those conditions. The Order required the local planning authority to state its reasons in writing if it decided to grant planning . .
Cited – Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Industry Training Board v Kent CA 1970
A notice of assessment to a levy which was served by the appellant Board failed to provide an address for service of a notice of appeal as required.
Held: The decision notice was invalidated by the omission. . .
Cited – Rayner v Stepney Corporation 1911
Cited – James v Secretary of State for Wales HL 1968
The land-owner increased the number of caravans on his land. The planning authority alleged there had been a change of use, and issued an enforcement notice. The land-owner challenged its validity.
Held: A decision granting or refusing . .
Cited – Edwick v Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District Council 1962
Cited – James v Minister of Housing and Local Government 1966
The appellant challenged the validity of a conditional planning permission which had been granted after the expiry of the period statutorily prescribed for doing so. It is unnecessary to examine the cases in detail.
Held: A planning permission . .
Cited – Calvin v Carr PC 15-Jan-1979
(New South Wales) It was argued that a decision of the stewards of the Australian Jockey Club was void for having been made in breach of the rules of natural justice.
Held: The stewards were entitled to use the evidence of their eyes and their . .
Cited – Ballast Plc v The Burrell Company (Construction Management) Limited SCS 21-Jun-2001
In a building dispute, the arbitrator found that the parties had departed from the standard JCT terms, and declined to arbitrate. The parties said that when called upon to act he ‘shall’ do so. The adjudicator had misconstrued his powers. It was . .
Cited – Bugg 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 . .
Followed – Wang v Commissioner of Inland Revenue PC 19-Oct-1994
(Hong Kong) At first instance the judge found that the deputy commissioner lacked jurisdiction to make two determinations since he had not done so within a reasonable time required by the imperative language of the statute. The Court of Appeal . .
Cited – Regina v Kensington and Chelsea Royal London Borough Council Ex parte Hammell CA 1989
Parker LJ said of the plaintiff’s application for a review of the decision on her homelessness application: ‘She is entitled to protection with regard to her public law right to have the necessary inquiries made and the decision properly made . . . .
Applied – Credit Suisse v Allerdale Borough Council CA 20-May-1996
Builder’s Guarantee Ultra Vires LA
The council set out to provide a swimming pool using powers under s.19 of the 1976 Act. Purporting to use powers under s.111 of the 1972 Act, it set up a company to develop a site by building a leisure pool and time-share units, with a view to . .
Applied – Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department Ex Parte Jeyeanthan; Ravichandran v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 21-May-1999
The applicant had failed to comply with the Rules in not using the form prescribed for appliying for leave to appeal against a special adjudicator’s decision to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal. The application, by letter, included all the relevant . .
Cited – Regina v Soneji and Bullen HL 21-Jul-2005
The defendants had had confiscation orders made against them. They had appealed on the basis that the orders were made more than six months after sentence. The prosecutor now appealed saying that the fact that the order were not timely did not . .
Cited – Seal v Chief Constable of South Wales Police HL 4-Jul-2007
The claimant had sought to bring proceedings against the respondent, but as a mental patient subject to the 1983 Act, had been obliged by the section first to obtain consent. The parties disputed whether the failure was a procedural or substantial . .
Cited – McKay, Regina (on the Application of) v First Secretary of State and Another CA 9-Jun-2005
An enforcement notice was challenged on the grounds of it having been made without the appropriate identification of the land at issue. . .
Cited – Rutter, Regina (on the Application of) v The General Teaching Council for England Admn 1-Feb-2008
The applicant challenged a decision of disciplinary committee to go ahead with an allegation of misconduct after considerable delay by council and failure to abide by its own rules. After not receiving a notice of proceedings the applicant had . .
Cited – Clarke, Regina v; Regina v McDaid HL 6-Feb-2008
An indictment had not been signed despite a clear statutory provision that it should be. The defects were claimed to have been cured by amendment before sentence.
Held: The convictions failed. Sections 1(1) and 2(1) of the 1933 Act which . .
Cited – JJB Sports Plc, Regina (On the Application of) v Telford and Wrekin Borough Council Admn 5-Nov-2008
The authority’s demand notice was served later than was practicable. The company now appealed against a liability order.
Held: The ratepayer’s appeal by way of Case Stated was dismissed. ‘demand notices must be served by the relevant authority . .
Cited – Attorney General’s Reference No. 3 of 1999 HL 14-Dec-2000
An horrific rape had taken place. The defendant was arrested on a separate matter, tried and acquitted. He was tried under a false ID. His DNA sample should have been destroyed but wasn’t. Had his identity been known, his DNA could have been kept . .
Cited – North Somerset District Council v Honda Motor Europe Ltd and Others QBD 2-Jul-2010
Deleayed Rates Claims Service made them Defective
The council claimed that the defendants were liable for business rates. The defendants said that the notices were defective in not having been served ‘as soon as practicable’, and further that they should not be enforced since the delay had created . .
Cited – TTM v London Borough of Hackney and Others CA 14-Jan-2011
The claimant had been found to have been wrongfully detained under section 3. He appealed against rejection of his claim for judicial review and for damages. The court found that his detention was lawful until declared otherwise. He argued that the . .
Cited – Rochdale Borough Council v Dixon CA 20-Oct-2011
The defendant tenant had disputed payment of water service charges and stopped paying them. The Council obtained a possession order which was suspended on payment or arrears by the defendant at andpound;5.00. The tenant said that when varying the . .
Cited – Regina v Johal CACD 19-Apr-2013
The defendant appealed against a confiscation order made on his conviction for possession of a Class B controlled drug. There had been considerable delays in the completion of the process, and it had exceeded the two year limit. The appellant argued . .
Cited – Mackaill and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Independent Police Complaints Commission Admn 6-Oct-2014
The three claimants were police officers. They met a senior MP at Sutton Coldfield. They emerged from the meeting and were said to have made misleading statements as to the content of the meeting. The IPCC referred the matters back to local forces . .
Cited – Westminster City Council v Owadally and Another Admn 17-May-2017
Defendant must plea to charge, and not counsel
The defendants had, through their barrister, entered pleas of guilty, but the crown court had declared the convictions invalid because this had to have been done by the defendants personally, and remitted the cases and the confiscation proceedings . .
Cited – Majera, Regina (on The Application of v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 20-Oct-2021
The Court was asked whether the Government 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 order. The appellant had been . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Litigation Practice, Administrative
Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.180917