Lunn, Regina (on the Application of) v The Governor of HMP Moorland: CA 25 May 2006

Having committed an offence whilst on licence, the judge had sentenced the defendant to a term of imprisonment to follow completion of the original sentence. The order drawn up by the clerk recorded that it should be served concurrently. He served time and was released. The mistake was noticed, and he was arrested and returned to prison. It was now disputed how the 64 days spent in the community should be factored into calculation of a new release date. The defendant said that it was not at his doing that he had been released. He appealed a refusal of his application for judicial review, based upon the idea that he had been unlawfuly at large.
Held: The Governor of the prison could act only according to the terms of the original mistaken court order and release the appellant on licence. He had not therefore been unlawfully at large, and being on licence, was still, in law serving his sentence. The correction by amendment of the original order operated with retrospective effect generally, but not for this purpose.
Moore-Bick LJ said: ‘It is an important principle of the administration of justice that an order of a court of competent jurisdiction made in the exercise of that jurisdiction, as it was in this case, is valid and binding until it is varied or set aside, either on appeal or in the proper exercise of the court’s own jurisdiction. (It is unnecessary in this case to consider the position in relation to an order which is unlawful on its face or which is made in excess of jurisdiction, though, as appears from the authorities, an order which is valid on its face is binding even if it was made in excess of jurisdiction and is therefore liable to be set aside.) It is necessary that that should be the case, both in order to preserve the authority of the courts and thereby the orderly administration of justice and to ensure that those who have to take action on the basis of the court’s orders may be confident that they can lawfully do so.’
Latham LJ, Neuberger LJ, Moore-Bick LJ
[2006] EWHC 1216 (Admin), [2006] EWCA Civ 700, Times 27-Jun-2006, [2006] 1 WLR 2870
Bailii, Bailii
Prison Act 1952 49
England and Wales
CitedDemer v Cook 1903
The plaintiff was convicted by magistrates of indecent exposure and sentenced to two months imprisonment with hard labour. A warrant for his imprisonment was drawn up and he was sent to Pentonville prison. He subsequently appealed and was released . .
CitedOlotu v Home Office and Another CA 11-Dec-1996
The plaintiff was remanded in custody pending trial in the Crown Court and a warrant was issued for her detention which directed the prison governor to hold her until she was delivered to the Crown Court in due course of law. The custody time limit . .
CitedRegina v Governor of Her Majesty’s Prison Brockhill ex parte Evans (No 2) HL 27-Jul-2000
The release date for a prisoner was calculated correctly according to guidance issued by the Home Office, but case law required the guidance to be altered, and the prisoner had been detained too long. The tort of false imprisonment is one of strict . .
CitedR and T Thew Ltd v Reeves CA 1982
A costs order had been drawn up incorrectly, and corrected without reference to the parties: ‘All the cases show that when a slip is corrected in this way, the correction dates back to the date when the document originally took effect . . unless . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 October 2021; Ref: scu.242208