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R v Environment Secretary, ex parte Brent LBC

[1982] QB 593

Case summary last updated at 05/01/2020 17:38 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Environment Secretary, ex parte Brent LBC

 Sec State launched a new policy of making grants to LAs under existing statute which would reduce the grants. He refused to entertain a delegation from the LAs who wished to make representations to him. HL held that the minister was under a duty not to fetter his own discretion. To this end he had a duty to ascertain whether someone appealing to him under the scheme had new arguments to make before refusing to hear them, rather than simply refusing to listen to them outright. Here, he had failed to ascertain whether the LA had new representations to make and had therefore fettered his discretion. 
 
Ackner LJ: “[The Minister is] entitled to have well in mind his policy.  To this extent the
reference to keep an open mind does not mean an empty mind.  This mind must be kept ajar”.

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