Facts: The Prime Minister (Thatcher) changed the terms and conditions of employment for workers at GCHQ (security service for intelligent gathering), such as to preclude the possibility of them going on strike. This was done using the prerogative without consultation with the unions. Thatcher claimed that the national security context (the vulnerability of the UK might be in if staff at GCHQ were to go on strike) necessitated or justified her actions, and that such decisions based on national security considerations are for her - not the courts - to make
Held: The court agreed
⇒ One interpretation of the case is that any national security context presented in court in judicial review proceedings will necessarily lead to the claim failing. This is not an accurate reading of the ratio of the decision, but it is certainly true that the invocation of national security makes a claim in judicial review considerably more difficult for the claimant (e.g. Bancoult No 2).
Facts: The SFO were investigating allegations of corruption at BAE Systems, in respect of a major arms deal with the Saudi Arabian Government. The investigations were high profile and well reported; the Saudi Government threatened the UK Government to drop the criminal investigation or otherwise lose their cooperation on global counter-terrorism. As if by magic, the SFO’s investigations were dropped
Held: CIn spite of the heavy national security context, the Administrative Court (High Court) agreed:
⇒ On appeal to the House of Lords, the SFO’s appeal was allowed
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Facts: The Minister sought to implement a new procedure in relation to immigration and claims for asylum. Countries would be placed on a ‘white list’ if they were designated ‘safe’—that is, where the return of a failed asylum seeker would pose no risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR (inhumane and degrading treatment or torture). This would allow for the swift return of failed asylum seekers from these countries
⇒ The Minister sought to include Pakistan on the ‘white list’ of safe countries. The House of Commons approved a resolution placed before it which, amongst other things, placed Pakistan on the ‘white list’ meaning that any failed asylum seeker from Pakistan could be returned without legal barrier (specifically those barriers relating to Article 3 ECHR).
⇒ The claimant was an Ahmadi woman whose claim for asylum was rejected. Before she could be deported to Pakistan, she sought judicial review of the Minister’s decision to include Pakistan on the ‘white list.’ She argued that as an Ahmadi woman she faced specific threats to her wellbeing that had not been taken into account when the decision was made to deem Pakistan ‘safe’ for the purposes of deportation
Held: Her claim was successful, and confirmed on appeal to the Court of Appeal. Even though both Houses of Parliament affirmed the Minister’s decision by resolution, the decision (which in law is the Minister’s) could be judicially reviewed on all grounds of review.
Facts: The Minister produced a report on local authority funding, which was approved by the House of Commons in a vote (not an Act of Parliament). The report was implemented, allowing for central government contributions to local authorities to be determined with reference to the financial prudence of the local authority in the previous financial year
⇒ Nottinghamshire CC (the claimant) was a local authority whose finances were not in the best shape. They would stand to lose a significant portion of their income with these new changes - no doubt worsening their financial position. They sought to judicially review the implementation of the report by the Minister
Held: The claim ultimately failed:
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