Gouriet v Union of Post Office Workers

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
JudgeLord Wilberforce,Viscount Dilhorne,Lord Diplock,Lord Edmund-Davies,Lord Fraser of Tullybelton
Judgment Date26 July 1977
Judgment citation (vLex)[1977] UKHL J0726-1
CourtHouse of Lords
Date26 July 1977
Gouriet and Others
(Respondent)
and
Her Majesty's Attorney-General
(Appellants)
Gouriet
(Respondent)
and
Post Office Engineering Union
(Appellants)
Gouriet
(Respondent)
and
Union of Post Office Workers
(Appellants)
[Consolidated Appeals]
Gouriet
(Appellant)
and
Union of Post Office Workers and Others
(Respondents)

[1977] UKHL J0726-1

Lord Wilberforce

Viscount Dilhorne

Lord Diplock

Lord Edmund-Davies

Lord Fraser of Tullybelton

House of Lords

Upon Report from the Appellate Committee, to whom was referred the Cause Gouriet against Post Office Engineering Union and Gouriet against Union of Post Office Workers [Consolidated Appeals], That the Committee had heard Counsel, as well on Tuesday the 14th, as on Wednesday the 15th, Thursday the 16th, Monday the 20th, Tuesday the 21st, Thursday the 23d, Monday the 27th, Tuesday the 28th, Wednesday the 29th, and Thursday the 30th, days of June last, upon the Petition and Appeal of The Post Office Engineering Union of Grey-stoke House, 150 Brunswick Road, Ealing, London, W.5, praying, That the matter of the two Orders set forth in the Schedule thereto, namely, an Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal of the 27th of January 1977, so far as regards the words "(4) that the application of the second Defendant (to strike out the Plaintiff's claim for a declaration that it would be unlawful for the second Defendant by itself its servants or agents or otherwise to counsel procure or incite in any way whatsoever any person in the employment of the Post Office wilfully or negligently to omit or delay to transmit or deliver any message in the course of transmission between England and Wales and the Republic of South Africa or by any wilful or negligent act or omission to prevent or delay the transmission or delivery of any such message) be dismissed (6) that the costs of and occasioned by the application to the Honourable Mr. Justice Stocker and of this appeal be costs in the cause", and also an Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal of the 15th of January 1977, so far as regards the words "(2) that the Second Defendant by itself its servants agents or otherwise be restrained and an Injunction is hereby granted restraining it from counselling procuring or inciting in any way whatsoever any person in the employment of the Post Office to wilfully or negligently omit or delay to transmit or deliver any message or to wilfully or negligently act omit prevent or delay the transmission or delivery of any message until after the hearing in the manner aforesaid." might be reviewed before Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Orders, so far as aforesaid, might be reversed, varied or altered, or that the Petitioners might have such other relief in the premises as to Her Majesty the Queen in Her Court of Parliament, might seem meet; as also upon the Petition and Appeal of the Union of Post Office Workers of Crescent House, Crescent Lane, Clapham, London SW4, praying, That the matter of the two Orders set forth in the Schedule thereto, namely, An Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal of the 27th of January 1977, so far as regards the words "(4) that the application of the second Defendant (to strike out the Plaintiff's claim for a declaration that it would be unlawful for the second Defendant by itself its servants or agents or otherwise to counsel procure or incite in any way whatsoever any person in the employment of the Post Office wilfully or negligently to omit or delay to transmit or deliver any message in the course of transmission between England and Wales and the Republic of South Africa or by any wilful or negligent act or omission to prevent or delay the transmission or delivery of any such message) be dismissed (6) that the costs of and occasioned by the application to the Honourable Mr. Justice Stocker and of this appeal be costs in the cause", and also an Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal of the 15th of January 1977, so far as regards "(2) that the Second Defen Office to wilfully or negligently omit or delay to transfer or deliver any message or to wilfully or negligently act omit prevent or delay the transmission or delivery of any message until after the hearing in the manner aforesaid." might be reviewed before Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Orders, so far as aforesaid, might be reversed, varied or altered, or that the Petitioners might have such other relief in the premises as to Her Majesty the Queen in Her Court of Parliament, might seem meet (which said Appeals were, by an Order of this House of the 3rd day of May last, ordered to be consolidated); as also upon the Case of John Prendergast Gouriet, lodged in answer to the said Appeals; and due consideration had this day of what was offered on either side in this Cause:

It is Ordered and Adjudged, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in the Court of Parliament of Her Majesty the Queen assembled, That the said Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal, of the 27th day of January 1977, in part complained of in the said Appeals, be, and the same is hereby Reversed so far as regards paragraph 3 and paragraph 4 and that the Plaintiff's claim for declarations therein referred to be, and the same is hereby, Struck Out: And it is further Ordered, That the Respondent John Prendergast Gouriet do pay, or cause to be paid, to the said Appellants the Union of Post Office Workers and the Post Office Engineering Union the Costs incurred by them in the Courts below, and also the Costs incurred by them in respect of the said Appeal to this House, the amount of such last-mentioned Costs to be certified by the Clerk of the Parliaments: And it is also further Ordered, That the Cause be, and the same is hereby, remitted back to the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, to do therein as shall be just and consistent with this Judgment.

Upon Report from the Appellate Committee, to whom was referred the Cause Gouriet against Union of Post Office Workers and others, That the Committee had heard Counsel, as well on Tuesday the 14th, as on Wednesday the 15th, Thursday the 16th, Monday the 20th Tuesday the 21st, Thursday the 23d, Monday the 27th, Tuesday the 28th, Wednesday the 29th, and Thursday the 30th, days of June last upon the Petition and Appeal of John Prendergast Gouriet of 500 Chesham House, 30-32 Warwick Street, London W.l, praying, That the matter of the Order set forth in the Schedule thereto, namely, an Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal of the 27th of January 1977, so far as regards the words "(2) that the Plaintiff's claim for an order (i) against the first Defendant an order that the first Defendant by its servants or agents or otherwise be restrained from soliciting or endeavouring to procure any person wilfully to detain or delay any postal package in the course of transmission between England and Wales and the Republic of South Africa; (ii) against the second Defendant an order that the second Defendant by itself its servants or agents or otherwise be restrained from counselling procuring or inciting in any way whatsoever any person in the employment of the Post Office wilfully or negligently to omit or delay to transmit or deliver any message in the course of transmission between England and Wales and the Republic of South Africa or by any wilful or negligent act or omission preventing or delaying the transmission or delivery of any such message be struck out under the Rules of the Supreme Court Order 18 Rule 19; (6) that the costs of and occasioned by the application to the Honourable Mr. Justice Stocker and of this appeal be costs in the cause" might be reviewed before Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Order, so far as aforesaid, might be reversed, varied or altered, or that the Petitioner might have such other relief in the premises as to Her Majesty the Queen in Her Court of Parliament, might seem meet; as also upon the Case of the Union of Post Office Workers and the Post Office Engineering Union, and also upon the Case of Her Majesty's Attorney General, lodged in answer to the said Appeal; and due consideration had this day of what was offered on either side in this Cause:

It is Ordered and Adjudged, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in the Court of Parliament of Her Majesty the Queen assembled, That the said Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal of the 27th day of January 1977, in part complained of in the said Appeal, be, and the same is hereby Affirmed so far as regards paragraph 2, and that the said Petition and Appeal be, and the same is hereby, dismissed this House: And it is further Ordered, that the Appellant John Prendergast Gouriet do pay, or cause to be paid, to the said Respondents the Union of Post Office Workers and the Post Office Engineering Union the Costs incurred by them in the Courts below, and also the Costs incurred by them in respect of the said Appeal to this House, the amount of such last-mentioned Costs to be certified by the Clerk of the Parliaments.

Lord Wilberforce

My Lords,

1

These appeals relate to certain orders made by the Court of Appeal in January 1977. The Attorney-General, Mr J. P. Gouriet, and the two Post Office Unions are each appealing against portions of these orders. It is difficult to summarise at all accurately the exact issues at stake because the record is in a state of procedural confusion due to improvisations and changes of direction by the court and the parties. But, briefly, the issues which have emerged for decision by this House are:

2

1. Whether, in spite of the refusal of the Attorney-General to consent to the use of his name in relator proceedings, Mr. Gouriet, as a private citizen, was entitled to come to the court and ask for an injunction against the Post Office Unions from soliciting interference with the mail to or with communications with the...

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