Regina v Lewes Justices ex parte Secretary of State for the Home Department; Rogers v Home Secretary: HL 1972

The House considered a claim for public interest immunity.
Held: Lord Simon of Glaisdale said: ‘the public interest which demands that the evidence be withheld has to be weighed against the public interest in the administration of justice that courts should have the fullest possible access to all relevant material . . but once the former public interest is held to outweigh the latter, the evidence cannot in any circumstances be admitted. It is not a privilege which may be waived . . by the Crown . . or by anybody else’. It refers to the rule that certain evidence is inadmissible on the ground that to adduce it would be contrary to the public interest.
Lord Reid said: ‘There is no question of any privilege in the ordinary sense of the word. The real question is whether the public interest requires that the letter shall not be produced and whether that public interest is so strong as to override the ordinary right and interest of a litigant that he shall be able to lay before a court of justice all relevant evidence.’


Lord Simon of Glaisdale, Lord Reid


[1973] AC 388, [1972] 2 All ER 1057


England and Wales


CitedMarks v Beyfus 1890
The plaintiff claimed damages for malicious prosecution. He called the Director of Public Prosecutions as a witness, who refused to identify the name of the person who had given him the information on which he had acted against the plaintiff.
CitedConway v Rimmer HL 28-Feb-1968
Crown Privilege for Documents held by the Polie
The plaintiff probationary police constable had been investigated, prosecuted and cleared of an allegation of theft. He now claimed damages for malicious prosecution, and in the course of the action, sought disclosure of five documents, but these . .

Cited by:

CitedAl Rawi and Others v The Security Service and Others CA 4-May-2010
Each claimant had been captured and mistreated by the US government, and claimed the involvement in and responsibility for that mistreatment by the respondents. The court was asked whether a court in England and Wales, in the absence of statutory . .
CitedAl Rawi and Others v The Security Service and Others SC 13-Jul-2011
The claimant pursued a civil claim for damages, alleging complicity of the respondent in his torture whilst in the custody of foreign powers. The respondent sought that certain materials be available to the court alone and not to the claimant or the . .
CitedAir Canada v Secretary of State for Trade HL 1983
The court considered the test to be applied before a document could be ordered to be discovered.
Held: (Majority) Discovery is an exception to the adversarial character of the legal process. It assists both the parties and the court to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.381618