Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex Parte Northumbria Police Authority: CA 18 Nov 1987

The Authority appealed from refusal of judicial review of a circular issued by the respondent as to the supply of Plastic Baton Rounds and CS gas from central resources only. The authority suggested that the circular amounted to permission for the use of plastic baton rounds for the first time in England and Wales and was ultra vires.
Held: The appeal failed. The Divisional Court was mistaken in construing section 41 as not authorising the Home Secretary to supply the equipment from the central store in the way described in paragraph 4 of the circular. All he is proposing to do is to hold the equipment and make it available for supply on request and without charge to such extent as appears to him to be best calculated to promote the efficiency of the policing.
‘a prerogative of keeping the peace within the realm existed in mediaeval times, probably since the Conquest and, particular statutory provision apart, that it has not been surrendered by the Crown in the process of giving its express or implied assent to the modern system of keeping the peace through the agency of independent police forces. I therefore conclude that, if the necessary power had not been available under section 41 of the 1964 Act, the terms and implementation of paragraph 4 of the Home Office circular would have been within the prerogative powers of the Crown.’


Purchas, Croom-Johnson, Nourse LJJ


[1988] 2 WLR 590, [1987] EWCA Civ 5, [1989] QB 26




Police Act 1964


England and Wales


CitedFisher v Oldham Corporation KBD 1930
On Officer was subject to a claim for false imprisonment on an unlawful arrest, and it was asserted that the Watch Committee of the local authority were vicariously liable. The plaintiff pointed to his Oath of Office: ‘I . . . . . . . . . of . . . . . .
CitedAttorney-General for New South Wales v Perpetual Trustee Co Ltd PC 14-Mar-1955
(Australia) The Crown could not recover damages for the loss of the services of a police constable as the result of injuries caused by the negligence of a third person. A chief constable was an office held under the Crown, and the usual relationship . .
CitedRegina v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, Ex parte Blackburn CA 1968
Answerability of Chief Constables
The constitutional status of the Commissioner had never been defined, either by statute or by the courts. By common law police officers owe to the general public a duty to enforce the criminal law. The court considered the extent to which a court . .
CitedProclamations, Case of KBD 1-Nov-1610
The King, as the executive government, sought to govern by making proclamations. In particular the court rejected the proposition that ‘the King by his proclamation may prohibit new buildings in and about London’
Held: The monarch had no power . .
CitedHarrison v Bush 1855
The office of Secretary of State is in theory one and indivisible.
Lord Campbell CJ stated: ‘In practice, to the Secretary of State for the Home Department . . belongs peculiarly the maintenance of the peace within the kingdom, with the . .
CitedCoomber (Surveyor of Taxes) v Berkshire Justices HL 3-Dec-1883
The central issue was whether a block of buildings comprising county assize courts and a police station were liable to income tax under Schedule A. If they had been erected as part of the function of government in the administration of justice, then . .
CitedAttorney General v De Keyser’s Royal Hotel Ltd HL 10-May-1920
A hotel had been requisitioned during the war for defence purposes. The owner claimed compensation. The AG argued that the liability to pay compensation had been displaced by statute giving the Crown the necessary powers.
Held: There is an . .
CitedBurmah Oil Company (Burma Trading) Limited v Lord Advocate HL 21-Apr-1964
The General Officer Commanding during the war of 1939 to 1945 ordered the appellants oil installations near Rangoon to be destroyed. The Japanese were advancing and the Government wished to deny them the resources. It was done on the day before the . .
CitedRegina v Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Ex parte Lain QBD 1967
The Crown Prerogative origin of the power to make ex gratia payments does not exclude the scheme under which the payments are made from judicial review. Decisions of the Board may therefore be subject to judicial review.
Lord Parker CJ . .
CitedLaker Airways v Department of Trade CA 15-Dec-1976
Policy guidance issued by the respondent was unlawful because it was contrary to the statutory objectives laid down for the Civil Aviation Authority by section 3 of the 1971 Act. The court discussed the status of guidance issued by the respondent: . .
CitedCalvin’s case 1606
Sir Edward Coke said: ‘If this alien becomes an enemy (as all alien friends may) then he is utterly disabled to maintain any action, or get anything within this realm.’ and ‘If a King comes to a kingdom by conquest, he may change and alter the laws . .
CitedThe King v Charles Pinney, Esquire 1-Nov-1832
The case of the Bristol Riots. Littledale J said that, although the posse comitatus might be called out by a justice of the peace, it was generally done by the sheriff. . .
CitedCrown of Leon (Owners) v Admiralty Commissioners 1921
. .
CitedChina Navigation Co Ltd v Attorney General CA 1932
The Plaintiffs, an English shipping company, carrying on business in Hong Kong, traded in both local and Chinese waters. Its trade consisted both of carrying cargo and passengers. The Chinese and neighbouring waters were infested by pirates who . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 01 February 2022; Ref: scu.262649