Rex v Northumberland Compensation Appeal Tribunal, ex Parte Shaw: CA 19 Dec 1951

A tribunal had wrongly calculated his ‘service’ when assessing the applicant’s compensation for loss of office as clerk to the Hospital Board. There was no right of appeal against its decisions. The Attorney General had argued that certiorari would only lie to prevent a tribunal exceeding its jurisdiction. The Divisional Court disagreed.
Held: The A-G’s appeal failed. The court had not arrogated to itself any appellate function not been given to it.
Denning LJ said that that the court had: ‘an inherent jurisdiction to control all inferior tribunals, not in an appellate capacity, but in a supervisory capacity. This control extends not only to seeing that the inferior tribunals keep within their jurisdiction, but also to seeing that they observe the law. The control is exercised by means of a power to quash any determination by the tribunal which, on the face of it, offends against the law. The King’s Bench does not substitute its own views for those of the tribunal, as a Court of Appeal would do. It leaves it to the tribunal to hear the case again.’ and ‘A tribunal may often decide a point of law wrongly whilst keeping well within its jurisdiction’.
And: ‘No one has ever doubted that the Court of King’s Bench can intervene to prevent a statutory tribunal from exceeding the jurisdiction which Parliament has conferred on it: but it is quite another thing to say that the King’s Bench can intervene when a tribunal makes a mistake of law. A tribunal may often decide a point of law wrongly whilst keeping well within its jurisdiction.’
Singleton LJ regretted the lack of a right of appeal on a point of law, which he thought would save a great deal of time and trouble in deciding whether certiorari would lie.

Denning, Singleton, Morris LJJ
[1951] EWCA Civ 1, [1952] 1 TLR 161, [1952] 1 All ER 122, [1952] 1 KB 338
England and Wales
CitedRex v The London County Council CA 1931
Scrutton LJ said: ‘The writ of certiorari is a very old and high prerogative writ drawn up for the purpose of enabling the Court of King’s Bench to control the action of inferior Courts and to make it certain that they shall not exceed their . .

Cited by:
CitedCart v The Upper Tribunal SC 21-Jun-2011
Limitations to Judicial Reviw of Upper Tribunal
Three claimants sought to challenge decisions of various Upper Tribunals by way of judicial review. In each case the request for judicial review had been first refused on the basis that having been explicitly designated as higher courts, the proper . .
CitedAnisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission HL 17-Dec-1968
There are no degrees of nullity
The plaintiffs had owned mining property in Egypt. Their interests were damaged and or sequestrated and they sought compensation from the Respondent Commission. The plaintiffs brought an action for the declaration rejecting their claims was a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Judicial Review

Leading Case

Updated: 12 November 2021; Ref: scu.262864