Mercury Communications Ltd v Director General of Telecommunications and Another: HL 10 Feb 1995

The Secretary of State’s decision on the grant of a Telecommunications licence was challengeable by Summons and not by Judicial Review. A dispute between Mercury and BT as to charges as set by the Director General is a private not a public dispute. The purpose of the rule of procedural exclusivity was stated to be prevention of an abuse of the process of the court, and that purpose is of prime importance in determining the reach of the general rule.
Lord Slynn said: ‘The recognition by Lord Diplock that exceptions exist to the general rule may introduce some uncertainty but it is a small price to pay to avoid the over-rigid demarcation between procedures reminiscent of earlier disputes as to the forms of action and of disputes as to the competence of jurisdictions apparently encountered in civil law countries where a distinction between public and private law has been recognised . . The experience of other countries seems to show that the working out of this distinction is not always an easy matter. In the absence of the single procedure allowing all remedies-quashing, injunctive and declaratory relief, damages-some flexibility as to the use of different procedures is necessary. It has to be borne in mind that the overriding question is whether the proceedings constitute an abuse of the process of the court.’
Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead
Independent 16-Feb-1995, Times 10-Feb-1995, [1996] 1 WLR 48, [1995] UKHL 12, [1996] 1 All ER 575, [1995] CLC 266, [1998] Masons CLR Rep 39
Bailii
Telecommunications Act 1984 7
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromMercury Communications Ltd v Director General of Telecommunications and Another CA 3-Aug-1994
Parties having contracted to resolve differences by an agreed procedure, could not go back on that agreement. The court will not replace an agreement for a resolution method chosen by parties with own advice and freely. . .
Independent 19-Aug-94, Times 03-Aug-94, Gazette 07-Oct-94
CitedO’Reilly v Mackman HL 1982
Remission of Sentence is a Privilege not a Right
The plaintiffs had begun their action, to challenge their loss of remission as prisoners, by means of a writ, rather than by an action for judicial review, and so had sidestepped the requirement for the action to be brought within strict time . .
[1983] 2 AC 237, [1982] 3 WLR 1096, [1982] 3 All ER 1124, [1983] UKHL 1

Cited by:
Appealed toMercury Communications Ltd v Director General of Telecommunications and Another CA 3-Aug-1994
Parties having contracted to resolve differences by an agreed procedure, could not go back on that agreement. The court will not replace an agreement for a resolution method chosen by parties with own advice and freely. . .
Independent 19-Aug-94, Times 03-Aug-94, Gazette 07-Oct-94
CitedBoddington v British Transport Police HL 2-Apr-1998
The defendant had been convicted, under regulations made under the Act, of smoking in a railway carriage. He sought to challenge the validity of the regulations themselves. He wanted to argue that the power to ban smoking on carriages did not . .
Times 03-Apr-98, [1998] UKHL 13, [1999] 2 AC 143, [1998] 2 All ER 203, [1998] 2 WLR 639
CitedSteed v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 26-May-2000
The claimant surrendered guns and ammunition under the 1997 Act, and was due to be compensated. His claim was not settled, and he commenced an action in the County Court for the sums claimed. The defendant denied any duty to pay up within a . .
Times 26-May-00, Gazette 08-Jun-00, [2000] UKHL 32, [2000] 3 All ER 226, [2000] 1 WLR 1169
CitedValentines Homes and Construction Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v HM Revenue and Customs CA 31-Mar-2010
The claimant had applied for judicial review of a decision by the defendant to seek to recover a debt from them. The issue had however been settled in the County Court. Costs were ordered against them, and they now appealed. In a small company the . .
[2010] EWCA Civ 345

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 18 December 2020; Ref: scu.83655