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R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p Fire Brigades Union [1995] 2 AC 513

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – PREROGATIVE POWERS – CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION

Facts

When the Secretary of State for the Home Department announced his intention not to bring into force ss.108-117 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (CJA), which contained statutory provisions for a criminal injuries compensation scheme similar to the scheme which had been in force since 1964, and decided instead to introduce a new tariff scheme to replace the existing scheme, F and other bodies applied for judicial review of his decision.

Issue

Whether, in electing to introduce the non-statutory tariff scheme, the Secretary of State had acted unlawfully in breach of his duty under s.171(1) CJA to consider when to implement the relevant provisions of that Act, and in so doing had therefore abused his prerogative powers.

Held

The House of Lords, in dismissing both the Secretary of State for the Home Department's appeal as well as F's cross appeal under s.171(1), held that the Secretary of State for the Home Department had some discretion as to when to introduce the statutory scheme and was not under a legal duty to stipulate a commencement date but merely to keep the matter of the time of implementation under consideration. However, by announcing that the provisions in the Act would not now be implemented, the Secretary of State for the Home Department had acted unlawfully; the decision to introduce a new scheme, which was inconsistent with the statutory scheme, was an abuse of the prerogative power so long as the provisions of the Act remained unrepealed.


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