Ex parte Rees-Mogg

16.17In 1994, an application came before Queen's Bench Division in which the applicant sought review of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary's decision to ratify the Treaty of European Union signed at Maastricht in February 1992.1 There had been much debate in both Houses on the European Communities (Amendment) Bill 1992, which made amendments to United Kingdom law consequent on the Treaty, and the Speaker had publicly indicated that the Commons ‘was entitled to expect … that the Bill of Rights [would] be required to be fully respected by all those appearing before the court’.2 In the event, both the court and the parties were conscious of ‘the need to confine judicial review within its proper sphere … the legality of government actions and intentions … The issues in the present case are as clearly within the proper sphere of judicial review, as questions of policy are within the sphere of Parliament’.3

Footnotes

  1. 1. R v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, ex p Rees-Mogg [1994] 2 QB 552.
  2. 2. HC Deb (1992–93) 229, cc 351–52.
  3. 3. R v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, ex p Rees-Mogg [1994] QB 552 at 561. See also the comments of Sir John Donaldson MR in R v Her Majesty's Treasury, ex p Smedley [1985] QB 657 at 666:
    ‘It … behoves the courts to be ever sensitive to the paramount need to refrain from trespassing on the province of Parliament or, so far as this can be avoided, even appearing to do so … I would hope and expect that Parliament would be similarly sensitive to the need to refrain from trespassing on the province of the courts'
    and R v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, ex p World Development Movement Ltd [1995] 1 All ER 611. See further para 16.10, fn 4.