Back to top
News In Focus

Home Secretary's attempt to terminate judicial review ruled illegal

21 November 2013

An attempt by the Home Secretary to terminate judicial review proceedings without further order of the court has been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal in London.

The power, in a commencement order made under the Justice and Security Act 2013 gave the Home Office powers to end court proceedings in which it was a defendant.

The Home Secretary was attempting to bring to an end a challenge to an exclusion order brought by Habib Ignaoua, who had been extradited from the UK to Italy but was acquitted of the charges against him and sought to return to the UK. The Home Secretary claimed to be entitled to "certify" the exclusion decision under the 2013 Act, with the effect that Mr Ignaoua's application would be terminated.

Giving the leading judgment, Lord Justice Richards, who sat with the Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, and Lord Justice Sullivan, said that Parliament had to use clear and express language to achieve such a result, "or more accurately to empower the Secretary of State to produce a similar result," and the "very general" language of the relevant provisions of the 2013 Act could not be said to reveal an intention of that kind.

The court observed that once the relevant procedural rules for the Special Immigration Appeals Commission were in force, it was likely that judicial review would be perceived as a less attractive or appropriate option, and the court might in any event refuse permission for a judicial review. But the important point was that the Act did not purport to remove the court's jurisdiction in relation to an exclusion certificate made after the commencement of the 2013 Act, and it would therefore be all the more surprising if it enabled the Home Secretary to bring about the termination of proceedings, such as the present, in relation to an earlier certificate.

Click here to view the judgment.

Have your say