Regina v Z (Attorney General for Northern Ireland’s Reference): HL 19 May 2005

The defendants appealed their convictions for being members of proscribed organisations. They were members of the ‘Real IRA’, but only the IRA was actually proscribed.
Held: The appeals failed. In construing an Act of Parliament it may be of assistance to have regard to the historical context, which may throw light upon the mischief to which the legislation is directed. There was a long history of attempts to proscribe terrorist organisations. The Act had clearly recognised that such organisations were prone to splinter, and had therefore been careful to ensure that membership of sub-groups of proscribed organisations was also caught.
Lord Carswell, after citing Quintaville, said: ‘My Lords, this appeal serves as a very good example of the principle of statutory construction that in seeking to ascertain the mischief towards which a statute is directed it can be of prime importance to have regard to the historical context . . If the words of a statutory provision, when construed in a literalist fashion, produce a meaning which is manifestly contrary to the intention which one may readily impute to Parliament, when having regard to the historical context and the mischief, then it is not merely legitimate but desirable that they should be construed in the light of the purpose of the legislature in enacting the provision: cf Karpavicius v The Queen [2003] 1 WLR 169, 175-176, paras 15-16, per Lord Steyn.’
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Woolf, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood
[2005] UKHL 35, Times 20-May-2005, [2000] 2 AC 645, [2005] 3 All ER 95, [2005] 2 WLR 1286
Bailii, House of Lords
Terrorism Act 2000 11
Northern Ireland
Appeal fromRegina v Z CANI 30-Jun-2004
. .
CitedRiver Wear Commissioners v Adamson HL 1877
It was not necessary for there to be an ambiguity in a statutory provision for a court to be allowed to look at the surrounding circumstances.
As to the Golden Rule of interpretation: ‘It is to be borne in mind that the office of the judge is . .
CitedTuck and Sons v Priester 1887
A person should not be penalised except under a clear law: ‘If there is a reasonable interpretation which will avoid the penalty in any particular case, we must adopt that construction. If there are two reasonable constructions we must give the more . .
CitedBrophy v Attorney-General of Manitoba PC 1895
The purpose of granting to Roman Catholics the right to funding for separate schools and the right to elect trustees to manage their own schools was to enable the teachings of the Roman Catholic faith to be transmitted to the children of Roman . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Health ex parte Quintavalle (on behalf of Pro-Life Alliance) HL 13-Mar-2003
Court to seek and Apply Parliamentary Intention
The appellant challenged the practice of permitting cell nuclear replacement (CNR), saying it was either outside the scope of the Act, or was for a purpose which could not be licensed under the Act.
Held: The challenge failed. The court was to . .
CitedSalomon v A Salomon and Company Ltd HL 16-Nov-1896
A Company and its Directors are not same paersons
Mr Salomon had incorporated his long standing personal business of shoe manufacture into a limited company. He held nearly all the shares, and had received debentures on the transfer into the company of his former business. The business failed, and . .
CitedColes v Odhams Press Ltd 1936
Lord Hewart CJ said that courts should avoid ‘taking blind shots at a hidden target’. . .
CitedUlster Transport Authority v James Brown and Sons Ltd CANI 1953
The repeal of a statutory exemption which had allowed the company to trade in competition with a government established board providing the same services, was ‘a device for diverting a definite part of the business of furniture removers and storage . .
CitedCorocraft Ltd v Pan American Airways Inc 1969
In the event of inconsistency between the French and English versions of the Convention, the French text prevails. . .
CitedKokkinakis v Greece ECHR 25-May-1993
The defendant was convicted for proselytism contrary to Greek law. He claimed a breach of Article 9.
Held: To say that Jehovah’s Witness were proselytising criminally was excessive. Punishment for proselytising was unlawful in the . .
CitedBlack-Clawson International Ltd v Papierwerke Waldhof Aschaffenburg AG HL 5-Mar-1975
Statute’s Mischief May be Inspected
The House considered limitations upon them in reading statements made in the Houses of Parliament when construing a statute.
Held: It is rare that a statute can be properly interpreted without knowing the legislative object. The courts may . .

Cited by:
CitedJackson and others v Attorney General HL 13-Oct-2005
The applicant sought to challenge the 2004 Hunting Act, saying that it had been passed under the provisions of the 1949 Parliament Act which was itself an unlawful extension of the powers given by the 1911 Parliament Act to allow the House of . .
CitedBoulton v Regina CACD 26-Apr-2007
The defendant appealed convictions for rape and other serious sexual offences, and witness intimidation. He complained that witnesses had been allowed to have their evidence read out because of their fear of him.
Held: In view of the extent of . .
CitedBogdanic v The Secretary of State for The Home Department QBD 29-Aug-2014
The claimant challenged fines imposed on him after three illegal immigrants were found to have hidden in his lorry in the immigration control zone at Dunkirk. The 1999 At was to have been amended by the 2002 Act, and the implementation was by the . .
CitedHuman Rights Commission for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland : Abortion) SC 7-Jun-2018
The Commission challenged the compatibility of the NI law relating to banning nearly all abortions with Human Rights Law. It now challenged a decision that it did not have standing to bring the case.
Held: (Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 July 2021; Ref: scu.225010