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Thoburn v Sunderland City Council (2003)

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – DELEGATED LEGISLATION – DIRECTIVES – EC LEGISLATION – WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

Facts

The Units of Measurement Regulations 1994, which were brought into force pursuant to the exercise of powers conferred by section 2(2) and (4) of the European Communities Act 1972, amended s.1 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985 so as no longer to permit the use of imperial units of measurement for purposes of trade other than as supplementary indications to metric unit.

The appellants argued that the relevant conditions were unlawful and invalid since s.1 of the 1985 Act, which permitted the continued use of imperial units of measurement, had impliedly repealed s.2(2) of the 1972 Act to the extent that it empowered the making of subordinate legislation which would be inconsistent with that section.

Issues

The court was called upon to consider arguments relating to the doctrine of implied repeal and, in particular, whether s.1 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985 had impliedly repealed the s.2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972, to the extent that the latter empowered the provision of subordinate legislation which was inconsistent with it.

Held

In dismissing the appeals, the Court found that the 1985 Act, as originally enacted, had not impliedly repealed s.2(2) of the 1972 Act to the extent that the latter empowered the provision of subordinate legislation which was inconsistent with it: Each specific right and obligation provided under EC law was, by virtue of the 1972 Act, incorporated into domestic law and took precedence. Anything within domestic law which was inconsistent with EC law was either abrogated or had to be modified so as to avoid inconsistency.


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