On appeal from: [2016] EWCA Civ 125

This appeal considered whether the Health Act 2006, Pt 1, Ch 1, which contains prohibitions on smoking in certain public places, binds the Crown by necessary implication.

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal holding that Parliament must have intended that the Crown should not be bound by the smoking ban, since it would otherwise have made express provision for it in the Act. This is because the classic rule is that a statutory provision does not bind the Crown save by express words or ‘necessary implication’. The Court considered that a ‘necessary implication’ is one which necessarily follows from the express provisions of the statute construed in their context, including its purpose. It is not enough that a statute is intended for the public good, or that it would be even more beneficial for the public if the Crown were bound. The Supreme Court noted that the Act did not expressly bind the Crown with the smoking ban, and that it does expressly bind the Crown in regard to the supervision of management and use of controlled drugs. As such, Parliament could not have intended to bind the Crown in relation to the smoking ban. However, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal with considerable reluctance, and suggested that Parliament, perhaps with the assistance of the Law Commission, give careful consideration to the merits of abolishing the rule.

For judgment, please download: [2017] UKSC 81
For Court’s Press Summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website (31 Oct 2017 morning session) (31 Oct 2017 afternoon session) (1 Nov 2017 morning session)