R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Fire Brigades Union

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date23 May 1994
Date23 May 1994
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)

Queen's Bench Divisional Court

Before Lord Justice Staughton and Mr Justice Buckley

Regina
and
Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex parte Fire Brigades Union and Others

Statute - commencement - duty of secretary of state

No duty to bring sections into force

The Secretary of State for the Home Department was not under a duty to bring into force the statutory scheme for compensation for criminal injuries provided for in the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

The Queen's Bench Divisional Court so stated when dismissing an application by the Fire Brigades Union, National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, Unison, GMB, Royal College of Nursing, Transport and General Workers Union, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, Prison Officers Association, Civil and Public Services Association, Trades Union Congress and the National Westminster Staff Association for judicial review of the continuing decision of the Home Secretary not to bring into force by order made by statutory instrument sections 108 to 117 of and Schedules 6 and 7 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and of his decision to implement the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (the Tariff Scheme) published on March 9, 1994 and intended to take effect from April 1, 1994.

Mr Patrick Elias, QC and Miss Dinah Rose for the applicants; Mr Guy Sankey, QC and Mr Stephen Richards for the secretary of state.

LORD JUSTICE STAUGHTON said that section 171(1), which was the commencement section, provided:

"Subject to the following provisions of this section, this Act shall come into force on such day as the secretary of state may by order made by statutory instrument appoint and different days may be appointed in pursuance of this subsection for different provisions and different purposes of the same provision."

Mr Elias had submitted that the section imposed a duty to bring the provisions of the Act into force at an appropriate time. In his Lordship's judgment, at first sight the words "on such day as the secretary of state may … appoint" suggested there was a power but no duty.

In the immediately following phrase "different days may be appointed", there could be no doubt that the word "may" was permissive and imposed no duty. However his Lordship had some doubt whether the same was necessarily true when "may appoint" appeared in a subordinate clause.

There were in fact many instances where the word "may" had been treated as imposing a duty. His Lordship was...

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11 cases
  • Constitutional Reference No 1 of 1995
    • Singapore
    • Constitutional Tribunal (Singapore)
    • 20 April 1995
    ... ... ; [1993] 1 All ER 42 (folld) R v Secretary of State for the Home Department;ex parte Fire igades Union [1995] 2 AC 513; [1995] 1 All ER 888,CA (folld) ... for the Home Department;ex parte Fire Brigades Union [1995] 2 AC 513; [1995] 2 WLR 1; [1995] 2 ... ...
  • R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Fire Brigades Union
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 9 November 1994
    ...Divisional Court (Staughton LJ and Buckley J) refused the eleven applicants an order of judicial review against the Home Secretary : [1994] PIQR P320 The applicants challenge that 3The applicants comprise a number of trade unions and other bodies and the Trades Union Congress. They claim to......
  • Mahon v Rahn
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 23 May 1997
    ...been available as a guide to what Parliament thought the existing law to be since it was enacted on 4th July 1996—cf. R v. Home Secretary, ex parte Fire Brigades Union (1995) 2 AC 513. 168 If I understood him correctly, Mr Malony argued that the present appeal could be decided on the narrow......
  • R v DPP ex parte Kebeline
    • United Kingdom
    • House of Lords
    • 28 October 1999
    ... ... v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex parte ... ...
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