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M v Home Office

[1994] 1 AC 377

Case summary last updated at 07/02/2020 15:12 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case M v Home Office

An asylum seeker was being deported from London to Paris to Zaire. During the flight to Paris judge ordered an injunction that V be brought back to court’s jurisdiction due to fresh appeal for judicial review of deportation decision. However Home Secretary ignored the injunction, believing it to be beyond court’s jurisdiction to make injunction (he did not even challenge it- merely ignored it). The Judge eventually conceded that the injunction was beyond his jurisdiction and that the Home Secretary was not in contempt of court. HL said that the injunctions were available against officers of the crown and that the Home Secretary was in contempt of court in ignoring them, rejecting the argument that contempt and injunctions did not apply to the crown. Lord Templman said that this would mean that the crown obeys the law by good grace and not by necessity. This was the first time a minister was held in contempt. Lord Wolf: A declaration of contempt against the crown can be made and the punishment will be political (unlike contempt proceedings against an individual in which case the punishment will be legal e.g. prison, a fine etc). Lord Wolf: it is possible to find contempt even where one cannot punish contempt, as in this case.

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