A and another v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2004) Times Law Reports, 17122004

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HOUSE OF LORDS
OPINIONS OF THE LORDS OF APPEAL FOR JUDGMENT
IN THE CAUSE
A (FC) and others (FC) (Appellants) v. Secretary of State for the Home
Department (Respondent)
X (FC) and another (FC) (Appellants) v. Secretary of State for the Home
Department (Respondent)
[2004] UKHL 56
LORD BINGHAM OF CORNHILL
My Lords,

1. The nine appellants before the House challenge a decision of the Court of Appeal (Lord Woolf CJ, Brooke and Chadwick LJJ) made on 25 October 2002 ([2002] EWCA Civ 1502, [2004] QB 335). The Court of Appeal allowed the Home Secretary’s appeal against the decision of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Collins J, Kennedy LJ and Mr Ockelton) dated 30 July 2002 and dismissed the appellants’ cross-appeals against that decision: [2002] HRLR 1274.

2. Eight of the appellants were certified by the Home Secretary under section 21 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 on 17 or 18 December 2001 and were detained under section 23 of that Act on 19 December 2001. The ninth was certified on 5 February 2002 and detained on 8 February 2002. Two of the eight December detainees exercised their right to leave the United Kingdom: one went to Morocco on 22 December 2001, the other (a French as well as an Algerian citizen) went to France on 13 March 2002. One of the December detainees was transferred to Broadmoor Hospital on grounds of mental illness in July 2002. Another was released on bail, on strict conditions, in April 2004. The Home Secretary revoked his certification of another in September 2004, and he has been released without conditions. 3. The appellants share certain common characteristics which are central to their appeals. All are foreign (non-UK) nationals. None has been the subject of any criminal charge. In none of their cases is a criminal trial in prospect. All challenge the lawfulness of their detention. More specifically, they all contend that such detention was inconsistent with obligations binding on the United Kingdom under the European Convention on Human Rights, given domestic effect by the Human Rights Act 1998; that the United Kingdom was not legally entitled to derogate from those obligations; that, if it was, its derogation was nonetheless inconsistent with the European Convention and so ineffectual to justify the detention; and that the statutory provisions under which they have been detained are incompatible with the Convention. The duty of the House, and the only duty of the House in its judicial capacity, is to decide whether the appellants’ legal challenge is soundly based.

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