The judiciary cases

Subscribe on YouTube

I help people navigate their law degrees

🎓 Simple and digestible information on studying law effectively.

🎬 One new video every week (I accept requests and reply to everything!)

📚 FREE courses, content, and other exciting giveaways.

Gareth Evans' personal youtube channel

Anisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 AC 147

Facts: The Foreign Compensation Act 1950 established the Foreign Compensation Commission (a public body). The Commission decided that the claimant (a company) had failed to establish a claim for compensation for the loss of its Egyptian assets following the Suez crisis of 1956. The Act said that any "determination" of the Commission should "not be called in question in any court"

  • The point of contention was as follows: Does the court have jurisdiction to decide whether the Commission made an error of law in rejecting an application?

Held: It was held that the wording of the legislation does not preclude the court from determining whether or not the determination in question was lawful; in other words, despite the seemingly clear meaning of the statute, it was interpreted flexibly such that the judiciary could “carry out the intention of the legislature” (Lord Wilberforce)

  • The decision illustrates the courts' reluctance to give effect to any legislative provision that attempts to exclude their jurisdiction in judicial review. Even when such an exclusion is relatively clearly worded, the courts will hold that it does not preclude them from scrutinising the decision on an error of law and quashing it when such an error occurs

Belmarsh Prison Case [2004] UKHL 56

Following 9/11 the British government issued a derogation (i.e. a derogation allows a State to derogate from certain rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights) which gave the Government extended power to detain foreign nationals on terrorism charges without trial (so Britain was derogating from the ECHR Article 5 ‘Right to Liberty’)

There were two questions:

  • Does the risk posed by terrorism amount to a “public emergency threatening the life of the nation” justifying a derogation from Art 5?
  • Is indefinite detention of foreign suspects a necessary response to such emergency?

Baroness Hale said: “[T]here is absolutely no reason to think that the problem applies only to foreigners. Quite the reverse. There is every reason to think that there are British nationals living here who are international terrorists … Yet the Government does not think that it is necessary to lock them up”

Thus, the appellants won the case and the House of Lords issued a ‘declaration of incompatibility’ stating that the British government had legislated and acted contrary to Article 5 of the ECHR

  • Therefore, the judiciary were, in effect, indirectly proposing legislative change

Pepper v Hart [1993] AC 593

Held: It was held that where legislation is ambiguous, obscure, or would lead to absurdity, the court may take into account a statement made by a Minister or other promoter of the Bill made in Parliament (Hansard) to aid the interpretation and construction of the statute providing such a statement is clear as to the intended effect

The Art of Getting a First in Law - ONLY £4.99

FOOL-PROOF methods of obtaining top grades

SECRETS your professors won't tell you and your peers don't know

INSIDER TIPS and tricks so you can spend less time studying and land the perfect job

We work really hard to provide you with incredible law notes for free...

The proceeds of this eBook helps us to run the site and keep the service FREE!


Robinson v Sec of State for N. Ireland [2002] UKHL 32

Facts: The Northern Ireland Act 1998 provided for an election of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister by the Northern Ireland Assembly “within a period of six weeks beginning with its first meeting”. The Assembly met on 23 September 2001 and an unsuccessful was election held on 2 November 2001. The six weeks period then expired on 4 November 2001. A successful election was then held on 6 November 2001. The appellant argued that the election on 6 Novemeber 2001 was illegal: the assembly had no power to elect a FM and DFM after 4 November 2001.

Held: Lord Hutton said that “the Northern Ireland Assembly is a body created by a Westminster statute and it has no powers other than those given to it by statute.”

  • In other words, statute did not allow the Northern Ireland assembly to have the election on 6th November statute said the election was supposed to have taken place within 6 weeks

Law Application Masterclass - ONLY £9.99

Learn how to effortlessly land vacation schemes, training contracts, and pupillages by making your law applications awesome. This eBook is constructed by lawyers and recruiters from the world's leading law firms and barristers' chambers.

✅ 60+ page eBook

✅ Research Methods, Success Secrets, Tips, Tricks, and more!

✅ Help keep Digestible Notes FREE

Course on the art of learning effectively, a reading masterclass