The House of Lords had to decide whether the Home Secretary was subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the court.

There appears to be no reason in principle why, if a statute places a duty on a specified minister or other official which creates a cause of action, an action cannot be brought for breach of statutory duty claiming damages or for an injunction, against the specified minister personally by any person entitled to benefit from the cause of action.

The House of Lords had to decide whether the Home Secretary was legally responsible for the conduct of immigration officers.

When a statute places a duty on a minister it may generally be exercised by a member of their department for whom they accept responsibility and for whose conduct they are accountable.

The question to be considered by the court was whether the minister could delegate a decision to use breathalysing equipment.

Ministers are not expected to take every decision entrusted to them by Parliament. If a decision is made on their behalf by one of their officials, then that is the minister’s constitutional decision.