Sandiford, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs: SC 16 Jul 2014

The appellant a British Citizen awaited execution in Singapore after conviction on a drugs charge. The only way she might get legal help for a further appeal would be if she was given legal aid by the respondent. She sought assistance both on Human Rights under article 6(2) and under common law.
Held: The appeal failed. The applicant was not within the jurisdiction of the court so as to create any human rights jurisdiction: ‘If one asks, by reference to any common-sense formulation, under whose authority or control she is, the answer is: that of the Indonesian authorities. It is they who ought to be ensuring her fair trial.’
As to the common law claim: ‘A common law power is a mere power. It does not confer a discretion in the same sense that a statutory power confers a discretion. A statutory discretionary power carries with it a duty to exercise the discretion one way or the other and in doing so to take account of all relevant matters having regard to its scope. Ministers have common law powers to do many things, and if they choose to exercise such a power they must do so in accordance with ordinary public law principles, ie fairly, rationally and on a correct appreciation of the law. But there is no duty to exercise the power at all. There is no identifiable class of potential beneficiaries of the common law powers of the Crown in general, other than the public at large.’
. . And ‘neither the practice nor the public statements of the Foreign Office can be said to give rise to a legitimate expectation that the legal fees of British subjects in difficulty abroad will be paid. On the contrary, it has been clear for some years that the policy of the Secretary of State is not to pay them. The result is that there is no basis for any criticism of the self-imposed limitations of the Secretary of State’s policy, other than the fact that he could have made it broader had he wished to. The limitations are certainly not irrational.’
Although the court could not enter into forbidden areas such as foreign policy, decisions or inaction could be reviewed if they were irrational.

Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lord Toulson
[2014] UKSC 44, [2014] 1 WLR 2697, [2014] WLR(D) 315, [2014] 4 All ER 843, UKSC 2013/0170
Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD, SC, SC Summary, SC Summary video
European Convention on Human Rights 1 6(2)
England and Wales
At AdminSandiford, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Admn 4-Feb-2013
The claimant was facing trial in Bali which would eventually lead to a sentence of death. She complained of inadequate legal assistance before and at the trial. She had been represented by a local lawyer, paid with funds (andpound;5,000) raised by . .
Appeal fromSandiford, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs CA 22-May-2013
The appellant, a British national and European citizen was in prison in Bali convicted of a criminal charge for which she might face the death penalty. Having insufficient funds she sought legal assistance from the respondent for hr appeal, and now . .
CitedAl-Skeini and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Jul-2011
(Grand Chamber) The exercise of jurisdiction, which is a threshold condition, is a necessary condition for a contracting state to be able to be held responsible for acts or omissions imputable to it which give rise to an allegation of the . .
CitedBankovic v Belgium ECHR 12-Dec-2001
(Grand Chamber) Air strikes were carried out by NATO forces against radio and television facilities in Belgrade on 23 April 1999. The claims of five of the applicants arose out of the deaths of relatives in this raid. The sixth claimed on his own . .
CitedSmith, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence and Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) SC 30-Jun-2010
The deceased soldier died of heat exhaustion whilst on active service in Iraq. It was said that he was owed a duty under human rights laws, and that any coroner’s inquest should be a fuller one to satisfy the state’s duty under Article 2.
CitedSoering v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Jul-1989
(Plenary Court) The applicant was held in prison in the UK, pending extradition to the US to face allegations of murder, for which he faced the risk of the death sentence, which would be unlawful in the UK. If extradited, a representation would be . .
CitedX v United Kingdom ECHR 15-Dec-1977
(Commission) The British court had ordered a Jordanian father to return his daughter to England. The English mother contacted the British consulate in Amman asking it to ‘obtain the custody of her daughter from the Jordanian Court’. The Consulate . .
MentionedCouncil 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 . .
CitedRegina (Abbasi) v Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs CA 6-Nov-2002
There is no authority in law to support the imposition of an enforceable duty on the state to protect the citizen, and although the court was able to intervene, in limited ways, in the way in which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office used its . .
CitedBritish Oxygen Co Ltd v Board of Trade HL 15-Jul-1970
Cylinders containing hydrogen gas were being put on a trailer pulled by a tractor for the purpose of delivery to the premises of the purchaser. One of the issues before the court was whether the function of the hydrogen trailers and the cylinders . .
CitedRegina v Foreign Secretary ex parte Everett CA 20-Oct-1988
A decision taken under the royal prerogative whether or not to issue a passport was subject to judicial review, although relief was refused on the facts of the particular case.
Taylor LJ summarised the effect of the GCHQ case as making clear . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Bentley Admn 7-Jul-1993
The claimant campaigned to correct what she said was a miscarriage of justice in the prosecution and conviction of her brother Derek Bently for murder. He had been hanged, and she challenged the refusal of a posthumous free pardon.
Held: A . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ex parte Ferhut Butt Admn 1-Jul-1999
Lightman J said: ‘The general rule is well established that the courts should not interfere in the conduct of foreign relations by the Executive, most particularly where such interference is likely to have foreign policy repercussions . . This . .
CitedSecretary of State for Defence v Elias CA 10-Oct-2006
The claimant said that a scheme drawn by the defendant for compensating British civilians interned by the Japanese during the second world war was indirectly discriminatory on racial grounds by requiring a national origin link with the UK. She had . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Bugdaycay HL 19-Feb-1986
Three applicants had lied on entry to secure admission, stayed for a considerable time, and had been treated as illegal immigrants under section 33(1). The fourth’s claim that upon being returned he would been killed, had been rejected without . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State For The Home Department, Ex Parte Venables, Regina v Secretary of State For The Home Department, Ex Parte Thompson HL 12-Jun-1997
A sentence of detention during her majesty’s pleasure when imposed on a youth was not the same as a sentence of life imprisonment, and the Home Secretary was wrong to treat it on the same basis and to make allowance for expressions of public . .
CitedKennedy v The Charity Commission SC 26-Mar-2014
The claimant journalist sought disclosure of papers acquired by the respondent in its conduct of enquiries into the charitable Mariam appeal. The Commission referred to an absolute exemption under section 32(2) of the 2000 Act, saying that the . .
CitedRex v Port of London Authority Ex parte Kynoch Ltd CA 1919
Bankes LJ said: ‘There are on the one hand cases where a tribunal in the honest exercise of its discretion has adopted a policy, and, without refusing to hear an applicant, intimates to him what its policy is, and that after hearing him it will in . .
ApprovedRegina (on the application of Abassi and Another) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Another CA 6-Nov-2002
A British national had been captured in Afghanistan, and was being held without remedy by US forces. His family sought an order requiring the respondent to take greater steps to secure his release or provide other assistance.
Held: Such an . .

Cited by:
CitedYoussef v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs SC 27-Jan-2016
An Egyptian national, had lived here since 1994. He challenged a decision by the Secretary of State,as a member of the committee of the United Nations Security Council, known as the Resolution 1267 Committee or Sanctions Committee. The committee . .
CitedMiller, Regina (On the Application Of) v The Prime Minister QBD 11-Sep-2019
Prorogation request was non-justiciable
The claimant sought to challenge the prorogation of Parliament by the Queen at the request of the respondent.
Held: The claim failed: ‘the decision of the Prime Minister to advise Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament is not justiciable . .
CitedCherry, Reclaiming Motion By Joanna Cherry QC MP and Others v The Advocate General SCS 11-Sep-2019
(First Division, Inner House) The reclaimer challenged dismissal of her claim for review of the recent decision for the prorogation of the Parliament at Westminster.
Held: Reclaim was granted. The absence of reasons allowed the court to infer . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Aid, Human Rights, Administrative

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.534406