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Wilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

[2003] UKHL 40

Case summary last updated at 07/02/2020 14:03 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Wilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

D and P had entered into an agreement prior to HRA 1998 and this agreement was governed by legislation introduced prior to HRA. Under the relevant legislation, on a technical point, the agreement was null and void and there was an absolute bar on the courts enforcing it. The claimant (trying to enforce the deal) said that this deprived him of his convention right (article 1 of first protocol). However HL said that the (1) the HRA was not intended to be retrospective and therefore didn’t change the circumstances of a deal entered into BEFORE HRA came into force. Hence s.3 could not apply to change the act. (2) Given that s.4 was a device that only operated where s.3 was attempted but failed, and given that s.3 was not even to be considered here since HRA doesn’t relate to deal, s.4 cannot apply later. (3) Article 6 right to a fair trial was NOT precluded in any event since the “absolute bar” did not stop the claimant bringing his claim to court and all article 6 was to guarantee was the procedural right to have a claim in respect of existing civil rights and obligations adjudicated by an independent tribunal. (4) Article 1 of First protocol included “contractual rights” within “possessions”. (5) Parliamentary debates were not to be considered to determine the intent of parliament, except for some ministerial statements. However even then the courts should not give too much weight to the significance of ministerial statements.

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