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R v Home Secretary ex parte Fire Brigades Union

[1995] 2 WLR 464

Case summary last updated at 05/01/2020 17:54 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Home Secretary ex parte Fire Brigades Union

Under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme victims of crime are compensated. It was created under prerogative and an act passed enacted it in legislation, with the proviso that the minister would bring the enacted provisions into force (thereby ending the prerogative scheme) when he thought fit. The minister tried to introduce an alternative scheme but HL ruled that he was bound to continually consider the scheme introduced by the act and that to introduce a different scheme was unlawful. Parl had only left to his discretion when to implement the act, not if. However HL refused to say that the minister was under a duty to bring the scheme into effect by a certain date. 
 
Lord Browne-Wilkinson: it is for parliament, not the minister to repeal laws. 
 
Lord Keith (dissenting) said that introducing the new scheme didn’t mean that the minister was not still considering the old one (actually it means precisely that). 
 
Lord Mustill (dissenting) said that the HL had no competence to regulate the relationship between the legislature and the executive and that it was for parliament, not the courts, to force an executive to act in compliance with the bill (wrong: if a government fails to comply with a law an action can be brought against it, regardless of whether it is parliament that has been damaged by the breach of law or a private individual). 

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