||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 124 (Oct)
||Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
||Andrew Arden QC, Jonathan Manning and Laura West (instructed by Gareth Owens in the first application and Margaret Ingram in the second application) for the claimants.
||James Eadie (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) for the Secretary of State.
||Richard McManus QC and Andrew Sharland (instructed by Richard Iliffe in the first application and Gerry Eudd in the second application) for the interested parties.
||10 October 2007
Local government - Reorganisation - Replacement of standard two-tier arrangements with unitary authorities - Powers for inviting and implementing proposals - Secretary of State rejecting objections to proposals - Secretary of State informing of changes to system dependent upon passage of bill through Parliament - Whether Secretary of State acting ultra vires.
Local government Reorganisation. It was trite that the Crown and ministers including the Secretary of State enjoyed legal personality, such that it would prima facie be entitled, so far as vires in the strictest sense was concerned, to undertake any lawful act, even if that act was plainly governmental. Further, ministers in certain circumstances had the power to take steps of a 'governmental' character without the support of any statutory authority, whether express or implied. That was the case in the light of authorities which had held that a body such as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, as not having been constituted by statute or by statutory instrument, but by an act of the Crown, that being the act of executive government alone, and in addition, the 'Consultancy Service Index', which was a list of persons who had convictions for child sex offences, that index having been created in a similar way. In the instant case, the Secretary of State's decision to implement proposals from local authorities, on the creation of local unitary government structures, was not ultra vires; it had power to take the steps it had despite the facts that it had no statutory authority, whether express or implied, to do so, and that no specific prerogative power had been engaged.
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