Regina (De Beer and Others) v Balabanoff, Returning Officer for the London Borough of Harrow: Admn 11 Apr 2002

Candidates in a local election submitted their nominations, but they were rejected by the returning officer. The original nominations were rejected because of the possibility of confusion between candidates. Amended papers were not properly executed, and again were rejected.
Held: The rules were clear, and the papers were not in order. The returning officer acted reasonably in rejecting them, since he had to act strictly within the rules. Judicial review refused.
Scott Baker J said, in the context of a submission that the court would have jurisdiction to interfere with a decision by a returning officer that a nomination paper was invalid: ‘It has not been argued before me that the court cannot interfere by way of judicial review, although it is fair to say that neither party was aware of any case where there has been a successful application for judicial review against a returning officer.
In my judgment, although judicial review does lie, this is an area in which the courts should be extremely slow to interfere with the decision of a returning officer. No doubt where a returning officer has plainly acted unlawfully relief will lie. But ordinarily returning officers should be left to conduct the election process as provided by Parliament.’
References: Times 25-Apr-2002, [2002] EWHC 670 (Admin)
Judges: Justice Scott Baker
Statutes: Local Elections (Principal Areas) Rules 1986 (SI 1986 No 2214) 4A(1), Local Elections (Principal Areas) (Amendment) Rules 1999 (SI 1999 No 394)
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Begum and others v Returning Officer for London Borough of Tower Hamlets CA 2-May-2006
    Keith J had countermanded a forthcoming local election, and made an order under section 39(1) for a new election. The claimants had sought to stand but had not been allowed to do so, the returning officer having rejected their nomination papers. The . .
    (, [2006] EWCA Civ 733)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.170173