Judgment[ edit ] The majority of the Law Lords held that the legislation should be interpreted so as to effect what Parliament intended, even if that meant adding to the words to give that effect. Viscount Maugham said that the court should "prefer a construction which will carry into effect the plain intention of those responsible" and Lord Macmillan that "it is right so to interpret emergency legislation as to promote rather than to defeat its efficacy". According to him, if the Secretary had acted in good faith, he need not disclose the basis for his decision, nor were his actions justiciable in a court of law. In their view, it was not appropriate for a court to deal with matters of national security, especially as they were not privy to classified information that only the executive had. Atkin protested that theirs was "a strained construction put on words with the effect of giving an uncontrolled power of imprisonment to the minister," and went on to say: In England, amidst the clash of arms, the laws are not silent. They may be changed, but they speak the same language in war as in peace.

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Moreover, when discussing points of law and finding precedent to support a judgement, whether a judgement was dissenting or not is irrelevant when it is authored by an expert whose legal opinion is not to be disregarded simply because the others on the bench disagreed. The case is primarily concerned with a bill presented to Parliament in the summer of The Act gave the Secretary of State the authority to detain without trial any person he believes to be a threat to either Public Safety or the Defense of the Realm.

This therefore granted the minister the authority to detain potentially innocent people for an indeterminate amount of time without their proper right to Habeas Corpus.

The Regulations, after war finally broke out, were issued 1, times between May and August , so concerned was the Government at the prospect of there being subversive elements in the United Kingdom. One such order was used against Mr. The application of these emergency powers against Mr Liversidge Perlzweig meant that he was imprisoned without charge or opportunity to prove his guilt or innocence.

They may be changed, but they speak the same language in war as in peace. It has always been one of the pillars of freedom, one of the principles of liberty for which on recent authority we are now fighting, that the judges are no respecters of persons and stand between the subject and any attempted encroachments on his liberty by the executive, alert to see that any coercive action is justified in law. This is, in fact, the same argument used in Anisminic: that the courts cannot be excused of their authority to rule whether a government body is acting outside, or making incorrect use of, the law through statute.

I have an opinion that they cannot and the case should be decided accordingly. He argues that responsibility to prevent this behavior lies with the courts, who are empowered to decide how statutes should be interpreted when such a question is raised. This echoes A. Share this:.


Liversidge v Anderson explained

The Secretary of State had refused to disclose certain documents. The question was as to the need for the defendant to justify the use of his powers by disclosing the documents. This was a matter of national security. Lord Atkin dissented as whether the defendant should or should not be obliged to give further and better particulars of a paragraph in his pleaded defence asserting that he had reasonable cause to believe that the claimant was a person of hostile associations. The only exception is in respect of imprisonment ordered by a judge, who from the nature of his office cannot be sued, and the validity of whose judicial decisions cannot in such proceedings as the present be questioned.


Liversage v Anderson [1942]

It concerns civil liberties and the separation of powers. Both the majority and dissenting judgments in the case have been cited as persuasive precedent by various countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. However, in England itself, the courts have gradually retreated from the decision in Liversidge. It has been described as "an example of extreme judicial deference to executive decision-making, best explained by the context of wartime, and it has no authority today. Facts Emergency powers in Regulation 18B of the Defence General Regulations permitted the Home Secretary to intern people if he had "reasonable cause" to believe that they had "hostile associations".

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