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British Railways Board and Another v Pickin

[1974] 1 All ER 608

Case summary last updated at 06/02/2020 12:38 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case British Railways Board and Another v Pickin

Parliament made an act that prevented land reverting to landowners once a railway company who had compulsorily purchased the land, decided to discontinue the line, as had previously been the case. A landowner argued before HL that the act was invalid because the preamble to the act was false, notification hadn’t been given to landowners, and it took away his rights. HL dismissed his claim, saying that neither an act of parliament, nor a provision of an act, could be invalidated by the courts. Lord Reid said that parliamentary sovereignty prevented such an invalidation + that the courts should be careful not to cause conflict between themselves and parliament by assuming such a power (feeble view of courts’ role as a check on parliamentary power). Lord Simon said that if parliament had been defrauded into passing an act, it was for parliament to conduct an inquiry and, if they wish, to repeal the act: it was NOT the courts’ job. 

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