Regina v Blandford Justices: CA 1990

The applicant had been charged with public order offences and had been remanded in custody by the Magistrates’ Court. He immediately commenced judicial review proceedings on the grounds that he was charged with an offence which was not punishable with a custodial sentence. A few days later he pleaded guilty to the offence and was released but continued with the judicial review proceedings. The Divisional Court had granted his application for judicial review and the Justices appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Held: As a preliminary point, the proceedings were a criminal cause or matter.
Taylor LJ said: ‘The application for judicial review was an application to the Divisional Court to review a decision of an inferior court in criminal proceedings then still in progress and was clearly an application in a criminal cause or matter. But Mr. Sankey says that, by the time the application was heard, the Divisional Court’s judgment was not in a criminal cause or matter since the justices had made their final order. He sought to rationalise this approach by saying that, once the criminal proceedings were concluded in the magistrates’ court, the decision of the Divisional Court could not affect their course and was not, therefore, in the cause or matter ‘at whatever stage of the proceedings.’ But, once the applicant had been granted bail the day after the challenged decision, any review by the Divisional Court of the challenged decision would not have affected the course of the criminal proceedings even if that decision had been made at some later ‘stage of the proceedings’ and before they were concluded. If the Divisional Court’s decision was not in a criminal cause or matter, in what type of proceeding was it made? It cannot have been a decision in vacuo and, for my part, I see no basis in principle or authority for attributing such a chameleon character to a cause or matter as to make it change from criminal to civil simply because the proceedings are concluded or because the review of the decision in such cause or matter may be too late to affect the outcome of the proceedings. In my opinion, the judgment of the Divisional Court in the present case was made in a criminal cause or matter.’


Taylor LJ


[1990] 1 WLR 1940


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedAlexander, Farrelly and Others, Re Judicial Review QBNI 5-Mar-2009
Each claimant said that they had been wrongfully arrested, the arresting police officers having either failed to ask whether the arrest was necessary (Farrelly), or mistakenly concluding so.
Held: The Order now contained in regulation . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Magistrates, Judicial Review

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.412281