Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change v Friends of The Earth and Others: CA 25 Jan 2012

The Secretary had issued a consultation on the payments for solar energy feed-in-tarriffs, with a view to the new rate being brought in in April 2012. As the consultation ended, he proposed to reduce rates from December 2011. He now appealed against a finding that this was unlawful.
Held: Permission to appeal was granted, but the appeal failed. The effect of the proposed modifications were retrospective, and could not be supported without an express statutory power.
Moses LJ said: ‘I should record that the proposed modifications remain proposals. There was an issue before Mitting J as to whether a proposal put out for consultation was a proper subject of judicial review at all, but in the event neither side has sought in this appeal to contend that the fact that the Secretary of State has not yet reached a decision, still less laid the modifications before Parliament, should inhibit or prevent this court from reaching a decision on the substantive issues. Both sides require an urgent decision as to the lawfulness of the proposals in relation to installations becoming eligible from 12 December 2011 to 1 April 2012.’ and
‘The question, I respectfully suggest, is not whether the proposed modification may have a significant adverse impact on those proposing to install small solar systems once the proposal was announced, but rather whether Parliament conferred a power to make a modification with such a retrospective effect. It did not.’

Lloyd, Moses, Richards LJJ
[2012] EWCA Civ 28
Energy Act 2008
England and Wales
CitedAbbott v Minister for Lands PC 30-Mar-1895
(From the Supreme Court for New South Wales) When considering what was a ‘vested right’ for the purposes of applying the presumption against retrospectivity of statutes affecting such rights, to convert a mere right existing in the members of the . .
CitedNewcastle Breweries Ltd v The King 1921
The court was asked to consider the validity of regulation 2B of the Realm Regulations made under section 1 of the 1914 Act.
Held: The presumption against a statute authorising the expropriation of a subject’s property without payment is even . .
CitedWilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) HL 10-Jul-2003
The respondent appealed against a finding that the provision which made a loan agreement completely invalid for lack of compliance with the 1974 Act was itself invalid under the Human Rights Act since it deprived the respondent of its property . .
CitedSecretary of State for Social Security v Tunnicliffe CA 1991
Staughton LJ considered the interpretation of an Act of Parliament to give it retrospective powers: ‘In my judgment the true principle is that Parliament is presumed not to have intended to alter the law applicable to past events and transactions in . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Utilities, Administrative, Constitutional, Judicial Review, Environment

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.450477