Regina (Abbasi) v Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: CA 6 Nov 2002

There is no authority in law to support the imposition of an enforceable duty on the state to protect the citizen, and although the court was able to intervene, in limited ways, in the way in which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office used its discretion whether to exercise its right to protect a citizen, the court would not interfere with matters of foreign policy.
Although the Foreign Office’s discretion as to exercise its prerogative powers in such a case was ‘a very wide one’ and although ‘the court cannot enter the forbidden areas, including decisions affecting foreign policy’, there was ‘no reason why its decision or inaction should not be reviewable if it can be shown that the same were irrational or contrary to legitimate expectation’
The court expressed serious concerns about the process of detention at Guantanamo Bay, concluding that ‘in apparent contravention of fundamental principles recognised by both [the British and the US] jurisdictions and by international law, Mr Abbasi is at present arbitrarily detained in a ‘legal black-hole’: ‘We have made clear our deep concern that, in apparent contravention of fundamental principles of law, Mr Abbasi may be subject to indefinite detention in territory over which the U.S.A. has exclusive control with no opportunity to challenge the legitimacy of his detention before any court or Tribunal.’
Lord Phillips MR said ‘. . the court cannot enter the forbidden areas, including decisions affecting foreign policy.’

Lord Phillips MR
[2002] EWCA Civ 1598, [2003] UKHRR 76, Times 08-Nov-2002, [2002] All ER (D) 70
England and Wales
FollowedBankovic v Belgium ECHR 12-Dec-2001
(Grand Chamber) Air strikes were carried out by NATO forces against radio and television facilities in Belgrade on 23 April 1999. The claims of five of the applicants arose out of the deaths of relatives in this raid. The sixth claimed on his own . .
See AlsoAbbasi and Another, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office and others CA 10-Sep-2002
The appellant was a British citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay by US authorities. He was captured by American forces in Afghanistan. He claimed that his detention was a violation of international law and that, under the United Kingdom Domestic Law, . .
CitedCouncil of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service HL 22-Nov-1984
Exercise of Prerogative Power is Reviewable
The House considered an executive decision made pursuant to powers conferred by a prerogative order. The Minister had ordered employees at GCHQ not to be members of trades unions.
Held: The exercise of a prerogative power of a public nature . .

Cited by:
CitedChagos Islanders v The Attorney General, Her Majesty’s British Indian Ocean Territory Commissioner QBD 9-Oct-2003
The Chagos Islands had been a British dependent territory since 1814. The British government repatriated the islanders in the 1960s, and the Ilois now sought damages for their wrongful displacement, misfeasance, deceit, negligence and to establish a . .
CitedMohamed Moneim Al-Fayed for Judicial Review of A Decision of the Lord Advocate To Refuse To Instruct A Public Inquiry Into the Death of Emad Al-Fayed OHCS 12-Mar-2004
The claimant sought judicial review of the minister’s decision not to order a judicial public investigation of the death of his son in a car crash in Paris.
Held: The primary obligation to undertake an enquiry fell upon France. The obligation . .
CitedHicks, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Admn 13-Dec-2005
The claimant, an Australian, presently held by the US as a suspected terrorist in Guantanamo Bay sought to be registered as a British Citizen, saying he was entitled to registration as of right.
Held: The past behaviour of an applicant was not . .
CitedAl-Jedda v Secretary of State for Defence CA 29-Mar-2006
The applicant had dual Iraqi and British nationality. He was detained by British Forces in Iraq under suspicion of terrorism, and interned.
Held: His appeal failed. The UN resolution took priority over the European Convention on Human Rights . .
CitedAl Rawi and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Another CA 12-Oct-2006
The claimants sought that the defendant should issue a request to the US authorities for their release from detention at Guantanamo Bay.
Held: The courts would not be able to intervene by judicial review, and would be reluctant to intervene in . .
CitedGentle and Clarke, Regina (on the Application Of) v Prime Minister and others CA 12-Dec-2006
The claimants appealed refusal of a judicial review of the defendant’s decision to enter into the war in Iraq. The claimants were parents of troops who had died in the war. They said that the legal advice given to the government was incorrect.
CitedGentle, Regina (on the Application of) and Another v The Prime Minister and Another HL 9-Apr-2008
The appellants were mothers of two servicemen who had died whilst on active service in Iraq. They appealed refusal to grant a public inquiry. There had already been coroners inquests. They said that Article 2 had been infringed.
Held: The . .
CitedCorner House Research and Campaign Against Arms Trade, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office and Another Admn 10-Apr-2008
The defendant had had responsibility to investigate and if necessary prosecute a company suspected of serious offences of bribery and corruption in the conduct of contract negotiations. The investigation had been stopped, alledgedly at the . .
CitedSecretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs v Rahmatullah SC 31-Oct-2012
The claimant complained that the UK Armed forces had taken part in his unlawful rendition from Iraq by the US government. He had been detaiined in Iraq and transferred to US Forces. The government became aware that he was to be removed to . .
CitedLord Carlile of Berriew QC, and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 12-Nov-2014
The claimant had supported the grant of a visa to a woman in order to speak to members of Parliament who was de facto leader of an Iranian organsation which had in the past supported terrorism and had been proscribed in the UK, but that proscription . .
CitedSandiford, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs CA 22-May-2013
The appellant, a British national and European citizen was in prison in Bali convicted of a criminal charge for which she might face the death penalty. Having insufficient funds she sought legal assistance from the respondent for hr appeal, and now . .
CitedSandiford, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs SC 16-Jul-2014
The appellant a British Citizen awaited execution in Singapore after conviction on a drugs charge. The only way she might get legal help for a further appeal would be if she was given legal aid by the respondent. She sought assistance both on Human . .
CitedYoussef v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs SC 27-Jan-2016
An Egyptian national, had lived here since 1994. He challenged a decision by the Secretary of State,as a member of the committee of the United Nations Security Council, known as the Resolution 1267 Committee or Sanctions Committee. The committee . .
CitedBelhaj and Another v Straw and Others SC 17-Jan-2017
The claimant alleged complicity by the defendant, (now former) Foreign Secretary, in his mistreatment by the US while held in Libya. He also alleged involvement in his unlawful abduction and removal to Libya, from which had had fled for political . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.186664