UK Liberty

SOCA was setup as ‘a region of executive action free of judicial oversight’

Posted in law and order by ukliberty on May 3, 2007

So says Lord Justice Sedley, in UMBS Online Ltd. v. the Serious Organised Crime Agency and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

In setting up the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the state has set out to create an Alsatia – a region of executive action free of judicial oversight. Although the statutory powers can intrude heavily, and sometimes ruinously, into civil rights and obligations, the supervisory role which the court would otherwise have is limited by its primary obligation to give effect to Parliament’s clearly expressed intentions.

But, except where the statute prevents it, the scheme must also accommodate what Byles J in Cooper v Wandsworth Board of Works (1863) 14 C.B.N.S. 180 called the justice of the common law. That is the duality we have sought to recognise in deciding this case.

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  1. […] part of the act, by the way, set up a “region of executive action free of judicial oversight” – the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Neither should we make the mistake of thinking that […]


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