R v National Insurance Commissioners, ex parte Hudson ; R v Secretary of State for Social Services

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
JudgeLord Reid,Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest,Viscount Dilhorne,Lord Wilberforce,Lord Pearson,Lord Diplock,Lord Simon of Glaisdale
Judgment Date16 December 1971
Judgment citation (vLex)[1971] UKHL J1216-2
Date16 December 1971
CourtHouse of Lords
Jones
and
The Secretary of State for Social Services
Hudson
and
The Secretary of State for Social Services
(Conjoined Appeals)

[1971] UKHL J1216-2

Lord Reid

Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest

Viscount Dilhorne

Lord Wilberforce

Lord Pearson

Lord Diplock

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

House of Lords

Upon Report from the Appellate Committee, to whom was referred the Cause Jones against Secretary of State for Social Services, that the Committee had heard Counsel as well on Tuesday the 5th, as on Wednesday the 6th, Thursday the 7th, Monday the 11th, Tuesday the 12th, Wednesday the 13th, Thursday the 14th, Monday the 18th, Tuesday the 19th, Wednesday the 20th and Thursday the 21st, days of October last, upon the Petition and Appeal of David Lloyd Jones, of Hafanedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Merioneth, 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 13th of November 1969, might be reviewed before Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Order might be reversed, varied or altered, and that the Petitioner might have the relief prayed for in the Appeal, or 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 Secretary of State for Social Services, 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 13th day of November 1969, complained of in the said Appeal, be, and the same is hereby, Reversed, and the Cause be, and the same is hereby, Remitted back to a Divisional Court of the High Court of Justice with a Direction, That the decision of G. Owen George, Esquire, a Commissioner appointed for the purposes of the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Acts 1965 to 1967 of the 27th day of December 1967, be Quashed: And it is further Ordered, That the Respondent do pay, or cause to be paid, to the said Appellant the Costs incurred by him in the Courts below, and also the Costs incurred by him 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.

Upon Report from the Appellate Committee, to whom was referred the Cause Hudson against Secretary of State for Social Services, that the Committee had heard Counsel as well on Tuesday the 5th, as on Wednesday the 6th, Thursday the 7th, Monday the 11th, Tuesday the 12th, Wednesday the 13th, Thursday the 14th, Monday the 18th, Tuesday the 19th, Wednesday the 20th and Thursday the 21st, days of October last, upon the Petition and Appeal of Donald Kenneth Raymond Hudson, of 28 Kymswell Road, Stevenage, in the County of Hertford, 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 13th of November 1969, might be reviewed before Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Order might be reversed, varied or altered, and that the Petitioner might have the relief prayed for in the Appeal, or 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 Secretary of State for Social Services, 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 13th day of November 1969, complained of in the said Appeal, be, and the same is hereby, Reversed, and that the Cause be, and the same is hereby, Remitted back to a Divisional Court of the High Court of Justice with a Direction, That the decision of Henry Ince Nelson Esquire, Q.C., a Commissioner appointed for the purposes of the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Acts 1965 to 1967 of the 12th day of July 1967, be Quashed: And it is further Ordered, That the Respondent do pay, or cause to be paid, to the said Appellant the Costs incurred by him in the Courts below, and also the Costs incurred by him 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 Reid

My Lords,

1

These conjoined appeals arise out of two claims for disablement benefit made under the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Acts. Jones' case arises under the Act of 1946, Hudson's case under the Act of 1965; but there is no substantial difference between the relevant provisions of the two Acts. The Acts provide three kinds of benefit—injury benefit, disablement benefit and death benefit. We are not concerned with the last and the provisions with regard to it throw little or no light on the matters raised in this appeal. Injury benefit is available when the man is unfit for work with a maximum duration of six months. Disablement benefit is available after injury benefit has ceased or immediately if there is no claim for injury benefit.

2

Jones was a fitter. On 27th February 1964 he was lifting a heavy piece of metal. He felt a pain in his back and seemed pale and ill. He saw his doctor and was admitted to hospital the next day. The first diagnosis was strain and injury to his back but when he was sent to another hospital they immediately on 17th March diagnosed myocardial infarction. He claimed injury benefit but the Insurance Officer rejected the claim on the ground that there was no injury by accident within the meaning of the Act. He then appealed to the Local Appeal Tribunal. They made a full investigation and heard medical evidence. They allowed his claim saying that they were "satisfied that appellant had no previous history of cardiac infarction and that the symptoms noted shortly after the accident were in fact those of infarction though not then recognised as such, also that the work he was engaged on at the time was exceptionally heavy for him as a fitter".

3

Then in due course Jones claimed disablement benefit. His claim went, as required by the Act, to a medical board. They rejected the finding of the Local Tribunal. They held that when they saw the man there were two separate disabilities, strained chest and myocardial infarction, and that the former was but the latter was not caused by the work which he was doing when he became ill. The finding of the Local Tribunal appears to me to mean that they held that these two conditions were connected both having been caused by the man's work.

4

The case then went to the Medical Appeal Tribunal. Their find was:

"Upon hearing the claimants' representative, reading the various documents précised and (aloud) the notes of evidence from the local appeal Tribunal, the Tribunal found no reason to disagree with the Medical Board's findings and decision. The tribunal are not satisfied that upon the balance of probabilities the relevant accident played any part, either by cause or contribution, in the infarction."

5

The Commissioner held this finding not to be erroneous in law so he dismissed Jones' appeal.

6

A similar disagreement between the medical and other tribunals was fully considered by this House in Dowling's case [1967] 1 A.C. 725. In the courts below these cases have been distinguished but the distinction in Jones' case appears to me to be put on inadequate grounds. In Dowling's case the medical authorities totally rejected the earlier decision of the statutory authorities. In this case they rejected the view that all the man's disabilities were connected and arose from the same cause and they also rejected the main finding of the statutory authority that the heart condition was caused by the man's work.

7

The present appeals were first heard some months ago by a committee of five Lords of Appeal. The Respondents then sought to argue that the decision of this House in Dowling's case should be reconsidered under the new practice initiated five years ago by intimation in this House of a unanimous Resolution of the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary in these terms:—

"Their Lordships regard the use of precedent as an indispensable foundation upon which to decide what is the law and its application to individual cases. It provides at least some degree of certainty upon which individuals can rely in the conduct of their affairs, as well as a basis for orderly development of legal rules.

Their Lordships nevertheless recognise that too rigid adherence to precedent may lead to injustice in a particular case and also unduly restrict the proper development of the law. They propose therefore to modify their present practice and, while treating former decisions of this House as normally binding, to depart from a previous decision when it appears right so to do.

In this connection they will bear in mind the danger of disturbing retrospectively the basis on which contracts, settlements of property and fiscal arrangements have been entered into and also the especial need for certainty as to the criminal law.

This announcement is not intended to affect the use of precedent elsewhere than in this House."

8

It was then thought proper that these appeals should be re-argued before a Committee of seven of your Lordships and we have heard full argument of all issues raised in these appeals.

9

My understanding of the position when this Resolution was adopted was and is that there were a comparatively small number of reported decisions of this House which were generally thought to be impeding the proper development of the law or to have led to results which were unjust or contrary to public policy and that such decisions should be reconsidered as...

To continue reading

Request your trial
105 cases
  • Kumpulan Kamuning Sdn Bhd v Rajoo and Others
    • Malaysia
    • Federal Court (Malaysia)
    • Invalid date
  • V Sinnathamboo v Minister for Labour and Manpower
    • Malaysia
    • Unspecified court (Malaysia)
    • Invalid date
  • R Ats. Thorpe v Molyneaux
    • Jamaica
    • Court of Appeal (Jamaica)
    • 31 January 1979
    ...borne out by the approach of the House of Lords itself since 1966 as shown in cases such as Jones (& Hudson) v. Secretary of State [1972] A.C. 944, and Knuller (Publishing etc.) Ltd. v. D.P.P. [1973] A.C. 435, while its beneficial effects are demonstrated in cases such a Miliangos v. George......
  • State v Gobin; State v Griffith
    • Guyana
    • Court of Appeal (Guyana)
    • 31 March 1976
    ...discussion on the controversial subject of stare decisis and the cases cited on the subject, viz., Jones v. Secretary of State, [1972] 1 All E.R. 145, and Knuller Ltd. v. D.P.P., [1972] 2 All E.R, 898, or of the need to maintain precedents that have been proven wrong and have worked injus......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
  • If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It - Contract Interpretation After Chartbrook v Persimmon
    • Cayman Islands
    • Mondaq Cayman Islands
    • 16 July 2009
    ...(Judicial Precedent) [1966] 1 WLR 1234. But that power was intended, as Lord Reid said in R v. National Insurance Comrs, Ex p Hudson [1972] AC 944, 966, to be applied in a small number of cases in which previous decisions of the House were "thought to be impeding the proper development of t......
14 books & journal articles
  • ENLARGED PANELS IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF SINGAPORE
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2019, December 2019
    • 1 December 2019
    ...“Five to Four: Why Do Bare Majorities Rule on Courts?” (2014) 123 Yale LJ 1692. 116 Jones v Secretary of State for Social Services [1972] AC 944 at 996–997. See also Lewis v Attorney General of Jamaica [2001] 2 AC 50 at 90; Willers v Joyce (No 2) [2016] 3 WLR 534 at [9]. For a different vie......
  • Preliminary Sections
    • Nigeria
    • DSC Publications Online Nigerian Supreme Court Cases. 1985. Part I Preliminary Sections
    • 22 November 2022
    ...Lawanson (1974) 1 All N L R 56 ........15 Jones v. Curling 13 Q.B.D. 262. ........89 Jones v. Secretary of State for Social Services (1972) 2 W.L.R. 210 at 215. 15 Joseph Aderemi v. The State (1975) 9-11 S.C. 115 at 121-124 .......................... 549 Joseph Lori v. The State (1980) 8-11......
  • Cases referred to in 1983
    • Nigeria
    • DSC Publications Online Nigerian Supreme Court Cases. 1983 Preliminary Sections
    • 22 November 2022
    ...123. 71 SCt. 624, 95 L. Ed 2nd 817. 495 Jones v. National Coal Board (1957) 2 All E.R. 155 at 159 592 Jones v. Secretary of State (1972) 1 All E.R. 145. 228 Jones v. Skelton (1963), W.L.R. 1376. 23 Jules v. Ajani (1980) 5 S.C. 96. 471 Julius v. Lord Bishop of Oxford (1880) 5 A.C. (H.L.) 214......
  • Table of Cases
    • United Kingdom
    • Wildy Simmonds & Hill How Judges Decide Cases: Reading, Writing and Analysing Judgments. 2nd Edition Contents
    • 29 August 2018
    ...58 R v Lambert [2001] UKHL 37, [2002] 2 AC 545, [2001] 3 WLR 206, [2001] 3 All ER 577 7, 63 R v National Insurance Comr, ex parte Hudson [1972] AC 944, [1972] 2 WLR 210, [1972] 1 All ER 145, HL 181 R v R (Rape: Marital Exemption) [1992] 1 AC 599, [1991] 3 WLR 767, [1991] 4 All ER 481, HL; [......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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