The GCHQ Case

Council of Civil Service Unions and others v Minister for the Civil Service (GCHQ case) [1984] 3 All E.R. 935

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was a branch of the Civil Service, whose main functions were to ensure the security of the United Kingdom military and official communications and to provide signals intelligence for the government.

All the staff at GCHQ had a long standing right, originating when GCHQ was formed in 1947, to belong to national trade unions and most of them did so. The unions represented at GCHQ were all members of an association of Civil Service Unions and there was an established practice at GCHQ of consultation between the management and the unions about important alterations in the terms and conditions of employment of the staff.

On 7 occasions between 1979 and 1981 industrial action was taken at GCHQ, causing disruption.

On 22/12/1983, the Minister for the Civil Service issued an oral Instruction in terms of Article 4 of the Civil Service Order in Council, 1982 to the effect that the terms and condItions of Civil Servants at GCHQ would be revised to exclude membership of any trade union, other than the departmental staff association approved by the Director of GCHQ. This Instruction was issued without prior consultation with the staff at GCHQ.

The appellants applied for judicial review of the Minister’s Instruction, stating that the Minister had acted unfairly in removing their fundamental right to belong to a trade union, without consultation.

High court granted the application on the ground that the Minister ought to have consulted the staff before issuing the Instruction.

Minister appealed to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal allowed it on the ground of national security.

The appellants appealed to the House of Lords. Appeal dismissed on the ground, inter alia, of national security. Once the Minister produced evidence that her decision not to consult the staff before withdrawing the right to trade union membership was taken for the reason of national security, that overrides any right to judicial review.

Donoghue v Stevenson

Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] UKHL 100

In the evening of 26th August 1928, May Donoghue went to Wellmeadow Cafe in Paisley, Scotland with her lady friend.

The friend ordered a Pear and Ice Cream for herself and a Scotsman Ice Cream Float, a mix of Ice Cream and Ginger Beer, for Donoughue.

The owner of the Cafe, Francis Minchella, brought over a tumbler of Ice Cream and poured Ginger Beer on it from a brown and opaque bottle labelled D. Stevenson, Glen Lane, Paisley. 

Donoghue drank some of the Ice Cream Float.

Donoghue’s friend poured the remaining Ginger Beer into the tumbler and a decomposed Snail also floated out of the bottle.

Donoghue claimed that she felt ill from the sight complaining of abdominal pain. She received emergency treatment and subsequently diagnosed with severe gastroenteritis and shock.

Donoghue lodged a writ in the Court of Sessions, Scotland’s highest civil court, seeking £500 as damages.

Her action failed,but she was granted leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

House of Lords established Stevenson should be responsible for the well being of individuals who consume his products, given that they cannot be inspected. The case was remitted to the Court of Sessions in Scotland. Stevenson died before the case was finalized and its reported that there was an out of court settlement by the Executors of £ 200 of the £ 500 that was claimed.

Donoghue v Stevenson establishes 3 major legal principles.

1.It established that negligence is a tort. As Donoghue had not purchased the Ginger Beer, she could not establish contractual agreement with Stevenson;

2.Manufacturer has a duty of care to the consumer or users of their products; and

3.Neighbor principle – The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law you must not injure your neighbour,,which raises the question as to who is my neighbour.

Lord Atkin 

The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law,you must not injure your neighbour, and the lawyer’s question, who is my neighbour? receives a restricted reply. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then,in law, is my neighbour? The answer seems to be – persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question

5 Tips To Ace A Law Exam

Are you a prospective Law student? Maybe you’ve just started a Law degree or a few weeks away from you very first examination! Or perhaps, you’ve already completed your exams and you’re wondering ‘how can I perform better, next time?’.

In whichever case, a question that you will always ask yourself is, what can I do to pass my exams? If this is what you’re after, this is NOT the post for you. Passing requires you to have studied the material provided to you by the University and a good understanding of how to put it down on paper, come exam time!

This post is to help you ACE a Law exam; To go above and beyond that of a normal student. So, with that, here are my 5 tips, to ace a Law exam: