Civil Servants: Insecurity Of Tenure

Publication Date01 Mar 1960
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1960.tb00589.x
AuthorC. Grunfeld
194
TEE
MODERN
LAW
REVIEW
VOL.
23
to
establish
a
plea of diminished responsibility, Parliament has
not defined the terms
"
abnormality of mind
))
or
"
mental res-
ponsibility
''
or
indeed any of the other expressions used in the
section.
If
this is accepted, what are we now to make of Lord
Goddard's statement in
Spriggs
that Parliament has defined these
matters and
it
is not for the courts to redefine them
?
rt
is suggested that the possible explanation for these rather
confusing developments
is
as follows. At the time when the defence
of diminished responsibility was introduced into English law, there
was
8
real danger that the judges might, by interpretation of the
words of the section,
so
alter
or
modify the scope
of
the defence as
to defeat Parliament's purpose. Indeed the' prospect of another
judicial muddle similar to that over the M'Naughten Rules was
by
no
means remote. Lord Goddard in
Spriggs
averted this danger
by telling the courts that
it
was
no
concern of the judge to interfere
in this matter. But this development was purchased at too great
a
price, in terms of depriving the
jury
of
assistance and guidance
from the judge. Consequently
it
has now been modified
to
enable
a more healthy and helpful partnership to be developed between
the judge and jury in resolving this difficult question.
It
is now
abundantly clear that the decision whether diminished responsi-
bility applies lies within the province
of
the jury, but they are not
to be prevented from having the assistance of the judge by way of
explanation
or
illustration
of
the meaning of the section.
It
is
con-
ceived, for example, that
it
would not be proper for the judge to
rule that a
person
of normal intelligence who
it
was said was a
psychopathic personality could in
no
circumstances be regarded as
suffering from diminished responsibility, and provided there was
some evidence in this direction,
it
would be a matter for the jury to
decide. They could of course be assisted by explanation
or
illustration by the judge.
J.
E. HALL
WILLIAMS.
CIVIL
SERVANTS
:
INSECURITY
OF
TENURE
Riordarz
v.
War
Ofice
throws into relief once more one of the most
unsatisfactory portions of the entire law of employment, the
peculiarly exposed legal position of the civil servant.
The plaintiff
was
an unestablished civil servant employed by the
War
Office under the terms of the War Office (Outstations) Civilian
Staff Regulations,
lQ50.
These
"
regulations
"
were made
by
the
Army Council pursuant to letters patent conferring upm them
such power and authority as were formerly exercised under the
prerogative by the Secretary of State, Commander-in-Chief
and
other
principal officers commanding under the Secretary of State. In
1
[1Q69]
1
W.L.R.
1046;
also
(196QI
3
All
E.R.
662.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT