Regina v Secretary of State for Home Department ex parte Hindley: Admn 18 Dec 1997

The Home Secretary has the power to fix the tariff sentence for a lifer at her whole life where that was needed in order to satisfy the requirements of retribution and of deterrence.
Lord Bingham of Cornhill CJ said: ‘I can see no reason, in principle, why a crime or crimes, if sufficiently heinous, should not be regarded as deserving life long incarceration for purposes of pure punishment.’ The Lord Chief Justice, he went on to reflect that in the context of whole life tariffs, ‘Successive Lord Chief Justices have regarded such a tariff as lawful, and I share their view.’
and ‘The threshold of irrationality for purposes of judicial review is a high one. This is because responsibility for making the relevant decision rests with another party and not with the court. It is not enough that [the court] might, if the responsibility for making the relevant decision rested with [it], make a decision different from the appointed decision-maker. To justify intervention by the court, the decision under challenge must fall outside the bounds of any decision open to a reasonable decision-maker.’


Lord Bingham of Cornhill CJ


Times 19-Dec-1997, [1997] EWHC Admin 1159, [1998] QB 751, [1998] COD 171, [1998] 2 WLR 505




Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 29

Cited by:

Appeal fromHindley v Regina, Secretary Of State For The Home Department CA 5-Nov-1998
The Home Secretary could impose a whole life tariff (better non-tariff) on a prisoner subject to life sentence, but must leave open possibility of review and receive representations. A tariff can be increased before being communicated to the . .
At First InstanceRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex Parte Hindley HL 30-Mar-2000
The prisoner, sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life tariff for the murders of children, now appealed against the imposition of the whole life tarriff.
Held: The appeal failed. It was possible for a Home Secretary to set a whole life . .
CitedOakes and Others v Regina CACD 21-Nov-2012
A specially constituted CACD heard sentencing appeals for defendants serving life terms for very grave crimes, and in particular, the judicial assessment of the minimum term to be served by the appellants for the purposes of punishment and . .
CitedCherkley Campaign Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd Admn 22-Aug-2013
The campaign company sought judicial review of a decision by the respondent granting permission to develop nearby land as a golf course.
Held: The application succeeded. The Secretary of State in preserving the effect of certain policies had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Sentencing, Judicial Review

Updated: 26 May 2022; Ref: scu.138104