R v Brind 1991 | Case Summary

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R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p Brind [1991] 1 AC 696

R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p Brind [1991] 1 AC 696

JUDICIAL REVIEW – PROPORTIONALITY

Facts

The applicants sought a judicial review of directives issued by the Home Secretary. The directives placed limits on the broadcasting permission of individuals associated with organisations proscribed by anti-terror legislation. The policy behind the proscription was to prevent these organisations from appearing to be politically legitimate, and to prevent them from engaging in intimidation. The applicants brought the argument that the ban was disproportionate. The proscription was limited to direct statements made by members of the organisations and was intended to deny the organisations the appearance of political legitimacy and to prevent intimidation. The applicants argued the ban was disproportionate.

Issue

The key issue before the House of Lords was whether proportionality might be invoked as a ground of review under UK law. A further question was whether the ban was in fact disproportionate.

Held

Dismissing the application, the House held that the ban was not disproportionate and was therefore within the powers of the Home Secretary. The comments of the House on the subject of proportionality as a grounds of review were therefore obiter dicta. The Lords differed in their views on this point: Lords Bridge and Roskill expressed the opinion that proportionality might be incorporated by the law, but that this was not an appropriate case for the court to pursue such a development; by contrast, Lord Ackner suggested that proportionality would require the court to inquire as to the substantive merits of the decision, and that the principle therefore had no proper place in UK law.

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