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Secretary of State for Education v Tameside MBC

[1977] AC 1014

Case summary last updated at 05/01/2020 17:50 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Secretary of State for Education v Tameside MBC

A council had a comprehensive education policy. After an election, the new council reversed this and planned to create a grammar school education policy. The secretary of state had the power under s.68 Education Act to direct a LA as to the exercise of its powers “if he was satisfied” that it was behaving “unreasonably”. Here the secretary believed this because the LA would not have time to organise a selection policy in time. HL, ignoring the subjective wording of the act, held that the LA had not behaved unreasonably , applying the Wednesbury test. Therefore the secretary of state’s directions were unlawful. 
 
Lord Wilberforce: Given that the council had a political mandate to pursue the grammar schools policy and massively supported by parents, it would be impossible for the secretary of state to conclude that the decision was Wednesbury unreasonable. 

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