Washminster

Washminster
Washminster

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Ouster Clauses

Sometimes language will be put in UK legislation to keep the Courts out of disputes involving the application of a statute. A typical clause will say that a determination "shall not be called in question in any court of  law."

This is what is refered to as an 'ouster clause'. As you might imagine, the Courts do not take kindly to such clauses.

The case of Anisminic v Foreign Compensation Commission dealt with an absolute ouster clause - and found a way around it. The statute granted powers to the body, the exercise of which could not be challenged in court. However where the body acted illegally, it was clearly acting outside the power granted by the Statute. That exercise of power, because it was outside the statute, was not subject to the limitation on review which applied when the statutory power is used. The full judgment can be read here.

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