Case Report: O'Reilly vs. Mackman

Topics: High Court of Justice, Appeal, Habeas corpus Pages: 65 (28078 words) Published: October 29, 2012
O'Reilly and Others Appellants v. Mackman and Others Respondents

[1982] 3 W.L.R. 1096

House of Lords: HL
Lord Diplock, Lord Fraser of Tullybelton, Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Bridge of Harwich and Lord Brightman
1982 Oct. 11, 12, 13; Nov. 25

Lord Denning M.R., Ackner and O'Connor L.JJ.
1982 April 6, 7, 20; June 30

Peter Pain J.
1982 Feb. 25; March 5

[Conjoined Appeals]

High Court--Procedure--Declaratory relief--Prisoners' claims against prison visitors--Proceedings by writ and originating summons--Whether judicial review only remedy--Whether claims abuse of process of court--Supreme Court Act 1981 (c. 54), s. 31 (1) (2)--R.S.C., Ord. 53, r. 1 (1) (2)

Judicial Review--Certiorari--Prison's board of visitors--Prisoners' claim against prison visitors--Whether judicial review only remedy--Supreme Court Act 1981, s. 31 (1) (2)--R.S.C., Ord. 53, r. 1 (1) (2)

The four plaintiffs, prisoners in Hull Prison, were charged with disciplinary offences before the board of visitors to the prison. In the case of each plaintiff the board held an inquiry found the charges proved and imposed penalties. Three of the plaintiffs brought actions by writ in the Queen's Bench *238 Division of the High Court against the board alleging that it had acted in breach of the Prison Rules and the rules of natural justice and claiming a declaration that the board's findings against them and the penalties awarded were void and of no effect. The fourth plaintiff started proceedings by originating summons in the Chancery Division against the Home Office and the board of visitors alleging bias by a member of the board and claiming a declaration that the board's adjudication was void for want of natural justice. In all four cases the defendants applied to strike out the proceedings. Peter Pain J. dismissed the applications. The Court of Appeal reversed that decision and struck out the proceedings on the ground that they were an abuse of the process of the court and that the plaintiffs' only proper remedy was by way of judicial review under R.S.C., Ord. 53. On the plaintiffs' appeal to the House of Lords with leave of the Court of Appeal:- Held dismissing the appeals, that since all the remedies for the infringement of rights protected by public law could be obtained on an application for judicial review, as a general rule it would be contrary to public policy and an abuse of the process of the court for a plaintiff complaining of a public authority's infringement of his public law rights to seek redress by ordinary action and that, accordingly, since in each case the only claim made by the plaintiff was for a declaration that the board of visitors' adjudication against the plaintiff was void, it would be an abuse of the process of the court to allow the actions to proceed and thereby avoid the protection afforded to statutory tribunals (post, pp. 274H - 275A, 285D-E, G-H, 286A-C). Reg. v. Board of Visitors of Hull Prison, Ex parte St. Germain [1979] Q.B. 425, C.A. approved. Anisminic Ltd. v. Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 A.C. 147 H.L. (E.), considered. Per curiam. Whatever may have been the position before the rule was altered, in all proceedings for judicial review that have been started since 1977 the grant of leave to cross-examine deponents on applications for judicial review is governed by the same principles as it is in actions begun by originating summons; it should be allowed whenever the justice of the particular case so requires (post, pp. 282G - 283A). Dictum of Geoffrey Lane L.J. in Reg. v. Board of Visitors of Hull Prison, Ex parte St. Germain (No. 2) [1979] 1 W.L.R. 1401, 1410, D.C. explained. Decision of the Court of Appeal, post, p. 250F Et Seq.; [1982] 3 W.L.R. 604; [1982] 3 All E.R. 680 affirmed.

The following cases are referred to in the opinion of Lord Diplock: Anisminic Ltd v. Foreign Compensation Commission [1968] 2 Q.B. 862; [1967] 3 W.L.R. 382; [1967] 2 All E.R. 986, C.A.;...
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