McCafferty, Re Writ of Habeas Corpus: CANI 16 Dec 2009

The applicant was a prisoner who had been released on licence while serving a sentence for possession of an explosive substance. His licence was revoked, and he was arrested a month after his release. The revocation of the licence was authorised by the minister of state for security in the Northern Ireland Office. He purported to act under section 1(3) of the 1995 Act which provided that the Secretary of State could revoke a person’s licence if it appeared to him that that individual’s continued liberty would present a risk to the safety of others or that he was likely to commit further offences. The prisoner applied for a writ of habeas corpus. Among other arguments presented on his behalf was the claim that his detention was unlawful because it had not been authorised by the Secretary of State but by a junior minister.
Held: This argument was rejected. Coghlin LJ, delivering the judgment of the court, observed ‘ . . In general, it is to be implied that the intention of Parliament is to permit the Carltona principle to apply rather than to require a personal decision by the named decision-maker. For the purpose of deciding whether the power is to be implied factors to be considered include the framework of the relevant legislation and, in particular, whether any specific contrary indications appear in the language, and the importance of the subject matter. . . a decision taken with regard to the liberty of the subject may attract the Carltona principle. In our view there is nothing in either the framework or the language of the 1995 Act that indicates a contrary Parliamentary intention. . . ‘


Coghlin LJ


[2009] NICA 59




Northern Ireland (Remission of Sentences) Act 1995 1(3)


Northern Ireland


CitedCarltona Ltd v Commissioners of Works CA 1943
Ministers May Act through Civil Servants
The plaintiffs owned a factory which was to be requisitioned. They sought a judicial review of the lawfulness of the order making the requisition, saying that the 1939 Regulations had been implemented not by the Minister as required, but by an . .

Cited by:

CitedAdams, Regina v (Northern Ireland) SC 13-May-2020
Secretary of State alone to consider confinement
The appellant had been detained under an Interim Custody Order (ICO) during internment during the troubles in Ireland, and then convicted of attempting to escape and escaping. He now appealed from that conviction saying that the order under which he . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Prisons, Administrative

Updated: 23 November 2022; Ref: scu.416630