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Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Chapter one: Defining the constitution
  3. Chapter two: Parliamentary sovereignty
  4. Chapter three: The rule of law and the separation of powers
  5. Chapter four: The royal prerogative
  6. Chapter five: The House of Commons
  7. Chapter six: The House of Lords
  8. Chapter seven: The electoral system
  9. Chapter eight: Parliamentary privilege
  10. Chapter nine: Constitutional conventions
  11. Chapter ten: Local government
  12. Chapter eleven: Parliamentary sovereignty within the European Union
  13. Chapter twelve: The governance of Scotland and Wales
  14. Chapter thirteen: Substantive grounds of judicial review 1: illegality, irrationality and proportionality
  15. Chapter fourteen: Procedural grounds of judicial review
    1. Cooper v Wandsworth Board of Works [1863] 143 ER 414
    2. R v Metropolitan Police Commissioner, ex parte Parker [1953] 2 All ER 717
    3. Ridge v Baldwin and others [1963] 2 All ER 66
    4. Re K (H) (an infant) [1967] 1 All ER 226
    5. Schmidt and Another v Secretary of State For Home Affairs [1969] 1 All ER 904
    6. McInnes v Onslow Fane and another [1978] 3 All ER 211
    7. R v Hull Prison Board of Visitors, ex parte St Germain and others (No 2) [1979] 3 All ER 545
    8. Attorney-General of Hong Kong v Ng Yuen Shiu (Privy Council) [1983] 2 W.L.R. 735; [1983] 2 A.C. 629
    9. R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Khan [1985] 1 All ER 40
    10. R v North East Devon Health Authority, ex parte Coughlan [2000] 3 All ER 850
    11. Regina v Secretary of State for Education and Employment, ex parte Begbie (CA) [2000] 1 W.L.R. 1115
    12. R (on the application of Bibi) v London Borough of Newham; [2001] EWCA Civ 607; [2002] 1 WLR 237 (CA).
    13. R v East Sussex County Council, ex p Reprotech (Pebsham) Ltd (HL) [2002] UKHL 8; 2002] 4 All ER 58.
    14. Metropolitan Properties Co (F G C) Ltd v Lannon and Others [1968] 3 All ER 304
    15. R v Gough [1993] 2 All ER 724
    16. R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate and others, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No 2) [1999] 1 All ER 577
    17. Taylor v Lawrence [2003] QB 528
  16. Chapter fifteen: Challenging governmental decisions: the process
  17. Chapter sixteen: Locus standi
  18. Chapter seventeen: Human rights I: Traditional perspectives
  19. Chapter eighteen: Human rights II: Emergent principles
  20. Chapter nineteen: Human rights III: New substantive grounds of review
  21. Chapter twenty: Human rights IV: The Human Rights Act 1998
  22. Chapter twenty-one: Human rights V: The impact of The Human Rights Act 1998
  23. Chapter twenty-two: Human rights VI: Governmental powers of arrest and detention
  24. Chapter twenty-three: Leaving the European Union

Cooper v Wandsworth Board of Works [1863] 143 ER 414

ERLE CJ: The contention on the part of the plaintiff has been, that, although the words of the statute, taken in their literal sense, without any qualification at all, would create a justification for the act which the district board has done, the powers granted by that statute are subject to a qualification which has been repeatedly recognised, that no man is to be deprived of his property without his having an opportunity of being heard....

I think that the power which is subject to the qualification suggested. It is a power carrying with it enormous consequences. The house in question was built only to a certain extent. But the power claimed would apply to a complete house. It would apply to a house of any value, and completed to any extent; and it seems to me to be a power which may be exercised most perniciously, and that the limitation which we are going to put upon it is one which ought, according to the decided cases, to be put upon it, and one which is required by a due consideration for the public interest. I think the board ought to have given notice to the plaintiff, and to have allowed him to be heard.

The default in sending notice to the board of the intention to build, is a default which may be explained. There may be a great many excuses for the apparent default. The party may have intended to conform to the law. He may have actually conformed to all the regulations which they would wish to impose, though by accident his notice may have miscarried; and, under those circumstances, if he explained how it stood, the proceeding to demolish, merely because they had ill-will against the party, is a power that the legislature never intended to confer. I cannot conceive any harm that could happen to the district board from hearing the party before they subjected him to a loss so serious as the demolition of his house; but I can conceive a great many advantages which might arise in the way of public order, in the way of doing substantial justice, and in the way of fulfilling the purposes of the statute, by the restriction which we put upon them, that they should hear the party before they inflict upon him such a heavy loss.

I fully agree that the legislature intended to give the district board very large powers indeed: but the qualification I speak of is one which has been recognised to the full extent. It has been said that the principle that no man shall be deprived of his property without an opportunity of being heard is limited to a judicial proceeding, that a district board ordering a house to be pulled down cannot be said to be doing a judicial act. I do not quite agree with that; neither do I undertake to rest my judgment solely upon the ground that the district board is a court exercising judicial discretion upon the point: but the law, I think, has been applied to many exercises of power which in common understanding would not be at all more a judicial proceeding than would be the act of a district board in ordering a house to be pulled down...

The district board must do the thing, legally; there must be a resolution, and, if there be a board, and a resolution of that board, I have not heard a word to show that it would not be salutary that they should hear the man who is to suffer from their judgment before they proceed to make the order under which they attempt to justify their act....I take that to be a principle of very wide application, and applicable to the present case; and 1 think this board was not justified under the statute, because they have not qualified themselves for the exercise of their power by hearing the party to be affected by their decision.

WILLES J: I am of the same opinion. I apprehend that a tribunal which is by law invested with power to affect the property of one of Her Majesty's subjects, is bound to give such subject an opportunity of being heard before it proceeds: and that that rule is of universal application and founded upon the plainest principles of justice. Now is the board in the present case such a tribunal. I apprehend it clearly is, whether we consider it with reference to the discretion which is vested in it, or whether we look at the analogy which exists between it and other recognised tribunals (and no one ever doubted that such trbunals are bound by the rules which a court of justice is bound by), or whether you look at it with reference to the estimation in which it is held by the legislature, as appears from the language used in the statute....

[T]he board exercises the power of a criminal court of high jurisdiction, because it has a discretion as to whether it will abate that which is a nuisance altogether, or whether it will simply direct that there shall be a modification of the work, which in its opinion are necessary for the health of the neighbourhood. I apprehend it is clear that the powers thus exercised by the board under the Act are powers which have alwavs been considered judicial, and which could not be exercised without giving notice to the party who is to be proceeded against....

BYLES J: I am of the same opinion. This is a case in which the Wandsworth district board have taken upon themselves to pull down a house, and to saddle the owner with the expenses of demolition, without notice of any sort. There are two sorts of notice which may possibly be required, and neither of them has been given: one, a notice of a hearing,, that the party may be heard if he has anything to say against the demolition, the other is a notice of the order, that he may consider whether he can mitigate the wrath of the board, or in any way modify the execution of the order. Here they have given him neither opportunity. It seems to me that the board are wrong whether they acted judicially or ministerially...[A]lthough there are no positive words in a statute requiring that the party shall be heard, yet the justice of the common law will supply the omission of the legislature....