1988 – Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme was
codified under Criminal Justice Act.
Awards to be decided on common law principles by which
tort victims compensated.
Certain parts of Act not to come into force until date
specified by Secretary of State.
1993 – Government white paper proposing new, less
generous compensation system.
White Paper stated that those parts of 1988 Act not
yet implemented would eventually be repealed.
Applicants, trade unions whose members exposed to
violent injuries in course of work, applied for JR.
Contended Home Secretary had acted unlawfully in not
bringing relevant sections of Act into force.
House of Lords held Home Secretary under no legally
enforceable duty to bring sections into force – had discretion.
Courts could not intervene as they would be
interfering in legislative process.
However Home Secretary’s discretion was not unfettered
and he was required to keep question of whether sections should be implemented
Was abuse of power for him to exercise prerogative
power in manner inconsistent with that duty.
Hence Home Secretary’s decision unlawful.