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courts and the executive: control, legal certainty, sub-delegation October 30, 2013

Posted by Bradley in : governance , trackback

From the judgment of Lords Mance and Toulson in the UK Supreme Court today in R (on the application of Reilly and another) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The courts have no more important function than to ensure that the executive complies with the requirements of Parliament as expressed in a statute. Further, particularly where the statute concerned envisages regulations which will have a significant impact on the lives and livelihoods of many people, the importance of legal certainty and the impermissibility of sub-delegation are of crucial importance. The observations of Scott LJ in Blackpool Corporation v Locker [1948] 1 KB 349, 362 are in point: “John Citizen” should not be “in complete ignorance of what rights over him and his property have been secretly conferred by the minister”, as otherwise “[f]or practical purposes, the rule of law … breaks down because the aggrieved subject’s legal remedy is gravely impaired”.


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