Judicial Activism in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service
    • House of Lords
    • 22 Nov 1984

    Like my noble and learned friend Lord Diplock, I believe that the law relating to judicial review has now reached the stage where it can be said with confidence that, if the subject matter in respect of which prerogative power is exercised is justiciable, that is to say if it is a matter upon which the court can adjudicate, the exercise of the power is subject to review in accordance with the principles developed in respect of the review of the exercise of statutory power.

    Judicial review has I think developed to a stage today when without reiterating any analysis of the steps by which the development has come about, one can conviently classify under three heads the grounds upon which administrative action is subject to control by judicial review. The first ground I would call "illegality," the second "irrationality" and the third "procedural impropriety."

    The first is where the authority concerned has been guilty of an error of law in its action as for example purporting to exercise a power which in law it does not possess. The second is where it exercises a power in so unreasonable a manner that the exercise becomes open to review upon what are called, in lawyers' shorthand, Wednesbury principles ( Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corporation [1948] 1 K.B. 223).

    If the executive instead of acting under a statutory power acts under a prerogative power and in particular a prerogative power delegated to the respondent under article 4 of the Order in Council of 1982, so as to affect the rights of the citizen, I am unable to see, subject to what I shall say later, that there is any logical reason why the fact that the source of the power is the prerogative and not statute should today deprive the citizen of that right of challenge to the manner of its exercise which he would possess were the source of the power statutory.

  • Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service
    • House of Lords
    • 22 Nov 1984

    It applies to a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question to be decided could have arrived at it. "Irrationality" by now can stand upon its own feet as an accepted ground on which a decision may be attacked by judicial review.

  • International Transport Roth GmbH and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 22 Feb 2002

  • A, X and Y and Others and Secretary of State for the Home Department
    • House of Lords
    • 16 Dic 2004

    But the function of independent judges charged to interpret and apply the law is universally recognised as a cardinal feature of the modern democratic state, a cornerstone of the rule of law itself. The Attorney General is fully entitled to insist on the proper limits of judicial authority, but he is wrong to stigmatise judicial decision-making as in some way undemocratic.

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Books & Journal Articles
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • The Bribery Act 2010… More Questions Than Answers
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... Co-operation and Development (OECD), triggered mainly by the judicial handling of the investigation into the recent bribery allegations against ...However, in the wake of recent judicial activism, seen in the court's decision to dramatically increase the penalty paid by ......
  • Custody Time Limits And Why They Matter
    • Mondaq UK
    ......As cited in the recent judicial spat, a lack of available courts is. not a good enough reason to keep ...That this combination has led to. increasing judicial activism (or at least serious judicial. discontent) is unsurprising and a sign of ......
  • Disclosure Scheme Implemented in Certain Divisions of the High Court of England & Wales
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    What Is It? A two-year pilot scheme running in certain divisions of the English High Court, designed to reduce the volume of disclosure documents (discovery) produced in English litigati...
    ...... scheme presumes co-operation between the parties and a degree of judicial activism. Further, given that Initial Disclosure will not apply in a ......
  • Unprecedented External Scrutiny In Latest UK DPA
    • Mondaq UK
    ......It is important to remember that. judicial oversight of DPAs in the UK is also reflected in the. Canadian legislation ...the degree of judicial activism involved in such terms, remain to. be seen. Footnotes. 1.Serious Fraud ......
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