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Att Gen for Hong Kong v Ng Yuen Shiu

[1983] 2 AC 629

Case summary last updated at 08/01/2020 14:39 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Att Gen for Hong Kong v Ng Yuen Shiu

P entered HK illegally. The government later announced a change to immigration policy, abandoning a “reached base” policy (i.e. those who made it to the cities would be allowed to stay), instead allowing immigration officers to make deportation orders. Later, govt announced that it would interview illegal immigrants and treat each case on its merits. P was then subjected to a deportation order without being given the chance to make representations. PC held that where a public authority charged with the duty of making a decision promised to follow a certain procedure before reaching that decision, good administration required that it should act by implementing the promise provided the implementation did not conflict with the authority's statutory duty. Accordingly failure to give an opportunity of providing representations, which was impliedly promised by the PA, sufficed to quash the order. 
Lord Fraser: “Legitimate expectations" in this context are capable of including expectations which go beyond enforceable legal rights, provided they have some reasonable basis… The expectations may be based upon some statement or undertaking by, or on behalf of, the public authority which has the duty of making the decision, if the authority has, through its officers, acted in a way that would make it unfair or inconsistent with good administration for him to be denied such an inquiry.” He says that forcing PAs to comply with policies that they announce is a matter of “good administration”. 

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